Sadat, 16, is a social innovator and an Ashoka Youth Venturer. While many 16-year-olds are playing cricket or studying for exams Sadat is innovating to help those around him. From apps and films to community forums Sadat has set out to make the process of community change easier.
His journey as a Changemaker started when he realized that local businesses struggled to keep track of their debt accounts. He once found his the elderly local shop keeper crying. Whe he asked him what was wrong he found out the shopkeeper had lost his Bakir Khata ( a record book that keeps track of the debt of customers), how was work 2-3 lakh taka. This is a problem that is common across the world, handwritten records often proving inaccurate or unreliable.
Sadat thought that by developing a mobile app, called ‘Bakir Khata Mobile App’, he would be able to help shopkeepers manage their customer credit and prevent people from defaulting. Using a mobile app allows people to be verified through their mobile number and notifications sent when payment is due. This helps give businesses security and allows all service users to keep track of their finances.
While this venture helped Sadat kick start his changemaking journey, he had many other passions. He feels that using the medium of film he can reach varied audiences talking about the problems society faces. He started making films in Grade 3 with a small multimedia phone camera. In Grade 8 he made his first short film, which attracted millions of views online. It is this experience that has given Sadat the belief that film is the perfect medium for the youth to spread serious messages.
Sadat seeks to embed social issues in film making and recently ran a campaign called ‘Cholo Shamajik Cholochitro Banai’. 40 youths were split into 8 teams and underwent 5 days of workshops on film making before being sent out into the community to make a socially minded short film. He hopes to spread this venture to all 64 districts of Bangladesh.
To his projects Sadat has had to find a source of funding. He raises fund by running coffee carts at festivals. This gives the volunteers a wider perspective on the importance of the small tasks to achieve the larger tasks. It is also an amazing example of Sadat’s tireless entrepreneurial spirit.
Sadat’s ventures are gaining a lot of attention. A software company has reached out to help Sadat spread his app, Bakir Khata Mobile. His short film, Aparajita, has recived multiple accolades including one from the UNDP and was selected for the International Children’s Film Festival Bangladesh. Sadat feels that the network of Ashoka and the support of his Youth Venture colleagues has contributed to his success.
Even though his ventures are going well he still has many ambitions. He hopes that the Bangladeshi film industry will begin to get international attention. He also wants to create a platform to bring together all social institutions across all ages in local areas to help foster further innovation in social change. Sadat knows he is still young but sees a lot ahead of him in his future. He follows the mentality that even if someone’s work seems small they should do it if it makes them happy.
If you or someone you know is, like Sadat, making a big or small change in their community, and is between the ages of 12 and 20, then get them to apply for Ashoka’s Youth Venture program. Apply here.
Written - Maesha Rashedin
Edited - Jake Smaje