Aminul Karim Dulal

Ashoka Fellow
Bogra, Bangladesh
Fellow Since 1992

Citation

This profile was prepared when Aminul Karim Dulal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
Dulal believes that his self supporting theme parks can effectively create public awareness of environmental problems and solutions in Bangladesh. It is a country where most people are unable to read and few have had the opportunity to learn about the world and its eco systems. Dulal dreams of bringing the average Bangladeshi an opportunity to stretch the scope of his or her existence and learn more about the world in which he or she lives.
Painted concrete animals are the primary residents of Dulal's parks. He uses these constructed zoos to teach people about the environment and local biosystems. As the most advanced conventional zoos have learned to do, Dulal locates his animals in their natural habitats and emphasizes that, unless humans protect these environments, the animals cannot survive.
An artificial zoo is quite practical, eliminating the expense of importing and feeding the animals. In addition, one is free to fashion animals already extinct and those not easily available. The initial section of Dulal's first park has attracted large audiences. It looks as if it will be financially self sustaining; and, in light of this success, Dulal and his supporters would like to replicate the zoo throughout Bangladesh.
Dulal's theme parks will also challenge the illiteracy and boredom barriers that hinder educational projects in the country. The zoos will be colorful, pictorial, low cost, and engaging. They will provide entertainment for a people who have little or no access to this kind of mental stimulation. Finally, the parks will cater to people of all ages, making a visit a learning experience for an entire family.
As he develops his theme parks, Dulal will also address the problem of the gradual loss of traditional art and artists in Bangladesh. He will give young creative people jobs, a chance to relearn almost forgotten skills, and help restore the public's sense of history. The crowds coming to the parks will provide a strong, growing local market -- and a market expressing Bangladeshi rather than international needs and tastes.
By training young artisans, mostly female, to make traditional Bangladeshi handicrafts and art, Dulal will help revitalize Bangladeshi arts. In the process, he hopes his artists will develop new products that will also sell well to the growing tourist industry.
At Dulal's center Karupalli, his core group of artists and artisans not only participate in the construction of the animals, but also learn a variety of traditional art styles and conduct research and evaluation on future parks and constructed zoos.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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