For decades, people of Bangladesh have faced countless challenges, such as climate and human-induced disasters, inequalities, economic instability, refugee crisis and pandemic. But every time, the mass bounced back with the power of resilience and survived with a renewed vigour. Very recent example would be the last two years, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the collective effort of the people of this country helped communities to stay hopeful and agile, despite all the uncertainties and despair.

ActionAid Bangladesh is organising this festival to celebrate this innate quality and resilience of the people, Through a wide and immersive range of activities, the festival will celebrate the people, their strength, joy, and solidarity.

Day 1 (9 June) key attractions include – Opening performance by Happy Home girls; inauguration of exhibition and kiosks; opening dialogue on ‘Multi-dimensional perspective of resilience,’ featuring Farah Kabir (Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh), Dr. Maleka Banu (General Secretary, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad), Rowshon Ara (Member, Shetu Bondhon Gori Network), Mahrukh Mohiuddin (Managing Director, The University Press Limited), Sabina Malo (General Assembly Member, AAIBS), Farzana Farukh Jhumu (Youth Climate Justice Activist, Fridays for Future), Ibrahim Khalil Al Zayad (Vice-Chair of AAIBS), Taslima Tanisha (Happy Home Representative), and Farzana Chowdhury (Chartered Insurer and Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited). There will also be a special ‘She-tales,’ segment, involving women leaders from the community who will share their tales of courage and resilience, and a cultural performance by AAB Band with the theme ‘Mukto Koro Bhoy, Apona Majhe Shakti Dhoro Nijera Koro Joy.’ Remarks by Dr. M Khalilur Rahman (Member of the General Assembly, AAIBS) shall mark the conclusion of the first day’s arrangements.

For Day 2 (June 10) there awaits a flash mob by the young participants of the Activista Network of ActionAid Bangladesh. There will also be three ‘Human Book Café sessions with distinguished speakers – Imtiaz Ahmed (Professor of International Relations & Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka); Naveed Mahbub (Popular Comedian and Columnist); Tania Wahab (Entrepreneur); Afsan Chowdhury (Journalist and Researcher); Shameem Akhtar (Filmmaker and Media Activist); Shakil Ahmed (Futurist, Educator, and Storyteller at Ridiculous Futures); Mahrukh Mohiuddin (Managing Director – The University Press Limited); Afzal Hossain (Popular Actor and Director); and Ahsan Rony (Founder – Greensaver). Abul Kalam Azad (Special Envoy of Climate Vulnerable Forum); Tania Wahab (Entrepreneur); Afzal Hossain (Actor and Director); Imtiaz Ahmed (Professor of International Relations & Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka); Afsan Chowdhury (Journalist and researcher); Shameem Akhtar (Filmmaker and Media Activist); and Farah Kabir (Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh) will take part in the festival’s closing dialogue, followed by the renowned band “Joler Gaan’s” cultural performance.

“The knack for survival through endurance and surpassing beyond obstacles is what makes us, as a nation, unique and commendable. At ActionAid, we felt that it was high time we celebrated this innate resilience of people – and therefore, came up with the idea of this Festival of Resilience. Through this 2-days long event, we are going to promote the diversity of the country’s culture, an attempt to learn the grassroots’ resilience mechanisms, explore opportunities for potential partnerships and highlight the work of ActionAid Bangladesh for building resilience to increase awareness,” said Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh.

There will be exciting games, live story-telling sessions and different stalls as well, where different handicraft, boutique and food items can be purchased. On-site registration will be available on both days of the festival. Exhibition (Photo, Arts, crafts, audiovisuals, etc.) and stalls of Aaurhi Trust, Barir Jeenish-Happy Home, Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Response will remain open from 03:00 to 06:00 PM on 9 June, and 03:00 to 08:00 PM on 10 June. To register online for the festival, please visit – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5ajjZpfEJRSPoPfbdq602sRTRh1V1wZfDksQH4-2R-_5QAw/viewform