October 29, 2012 : Bangladesh : With Living Legends Sharing Liberation War Stories With Children

With Living Legends Sharing Liberation War Stories With Children

Patriotism has not yet become a cliché to the young Bangladeshi members of With Living Legends (WLL). They believe that the freedom fighters of our country are legendary characters and thus they aspire to spread the history of our Liberation War among young children through the actual stories of freedom fighters.

When the group started this movement in 2006, they were all university and college students giving tuition, mainly to English-medium school students. They noticed that many of these students had very little exposure to the history of our country. This observation led them to wonder how they could induce interest among these children.

“We noticed that most children like comics, superheroes and stories of heroism,” explains Hasan Munawar Mashuk, a member of With Living Legends. “We have adopted a format called the Superman format, where we portray our freedom fighters as superheroes. Our team collects real stories of the freedom fighters and then develops a script based on those stories where the freedom fighter becomes the superhero,” he adds.

They arrange three-day long workshops at different schools in Dhaka where these stories are told with the help of Styrofoam models on the first day. On the second day, a drawing competition is held at the school, where the children give colours to their perception of the story. On the third day, which they call “Superman Day”, WLL try to bring in the real-life hero, the freedom fighter, whose life the superhero story was based on. The real life superhero then presents the children with prizes. So far WLL has carried out this programme in about 40 schools inside the country as well as in London.

The members of With Living Legends work voluntarily, each member donating a certain amount of money to cover the expenses of creating the Styrofoam models and other costs. “We do not encourage the use of sponsors, because our movement is non-political,” says Mashuk.

By Tamanna Khan