Examples of grit and courage

Lakshmi B. Ghosh

NEW DELHI: Living on the mean streets of the city, the begging bowl was Ashikul Islam's first introduction to the real world. The bowl never filled enough to get him or his family through the day, and strangely enough food itself was never enough to satiate this youngster's hunger for creativity.

The story of Sahiful Mondal is not very different from that of Ashikul, with the duo's spirited approach to life and their amazing sense to see the world through the lens not just winning them an award for their brilliant filmmaking ability but now also getting them recognition from the Government for being children who managed exceptional achievement.

With their story being an example of grit and courage, especially for children in difficult circumstances, the two kids have been selected for the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement and Development that will be presented on Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary today (August 20) by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Arjun Singh.

While Ashikul's skills were honed by the Centre for Communication and Development, an NGO working for child labourers and abandoned children, it was Sahiful's experience with Muktaneer, CCD's shelter home for destitute boys, that helped him sharpen his skills at cinematography.

Ashikul's film "Aami'' (I Am) won the Grand Prize at the "Kids for Kids" film festival in Athens, with the jury comment that "for its positive message, full of hope and faith that no matter what your circumstances are, you can always have hopes and dreams. A very touching and moving film.''

In the case of Sahiful, his film "Aamra" on the life of children like him won the first prize in the live film category of the festival at Naples this year.

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