Memoirs of a BRAC Young Professional

June 15, 2014

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After the mass destruction during the civil war in Sierra Leone, I had a desire to give back to my country and help in nation building. Starting off as a child activist for Search for Common Ground, I have represented the vulnerable war-affected children of Sierra Leone both nationally and internationally, ensuring that their voices are heard and attended to. Working in development was always my utmost desire.

pascal

After the mass destruction during the civil war in Sierra Leone, I had a desire to give back to my country and help in nation building. Starting off as a child activist for Search for Common Ground, I have represented the vulnerable war-affected children of Sierra Leone both nationally and internationally, ensuring that their voices are heard and attended to. Working in development was always my utmost desire.

Reading about BRAC’s young professional (YP) programme gave me chills; I saw it as a golden opportunity to achieve my goals and succeeding as a finalist was a dream come true. What I thought would be four weeks of intense classroom training turned into an enjoyable learning experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

It all started when I arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was captivated by the rickshaws with vibrant artwork, the delicious snacks found everywhere on street carts, and the friendliest of people.

Bangladesh made it effortless for an introvert like me to feel at home, although the locals’ taste for spicy food was my biggest trial. After having tried various peppery dishes (and succumbing to the consequences for my stomach), I persisted in trying more, finally becoming accustomed to the flavours. Phuchka and chatpati (savoury potato and chickpea snacks) became my ‘other half’ for the rest of my trip.

The issues of poverty and its multi-dimensional parametres were proficiently taught during the YP training session in both the classroom and on the field. There were a total of 17 YPs representing Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Working as a group and meeting distinguished personalities improved my self-confidence, problem solving skills and adaptability. It has helped me step out of my comfort zone to start thinking of how my voluntary actions can help others.

“Name? Married? Country?” These were the main recurring questions I was asked by everyone. People were impressed that I could respond in what little Bangla I knew. Interestingly enough, after the contribution of the Bangladeshi UN Peacekeepers during the civil war in Sierra Leone, our former president declared Bangla our second language as acknowledgement of their diligent service and the unique historical values that the two countries share in common (civil war, trade, climate, and eating habits to name a few).

Overall, my experience in Bangladesh has left me feeling rewarded having had the opportunity to learn more about what goes on behind  BRAC’s success. It has inspired me and reignited my desire to go back and be of selfless service to those living in poverty and vulnerability in my own country.

 

Pascal Masuba is a developement professional, Communications, BRAC International.

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