Seats2meet, Bangladesh is 1 year old (July 1). No celebration due to corona and lockdown. But we are having online parties with my dudes. Sad indeed, with a happy twist.
Today I am gonna tell you the journey of how I got connected with the network being in a village of Bangladesh and doing everything together.
Hello, my name is Fahad Bin Husne Ali from Bangladesh. I work with the Seats2meet.com network. Here we have a location in abundance in my village where I run initiatives such as the Permanent future lab for example. The coworking space works as an open source location where anyone can come and learn, teach or contribute.
Back in 2017 I met Jurjen De Vries and Samir Lahiri from Permanent future lab, they were working on making an initiative where people can learn and share tech without any boundaries such as money. I liked the idea of creating an initiative because in my village almost every person is poor but students and kids are eager to learn new tech. So it was a good opportunity for me to work on this. So I joined.
Journey was not amazing all the time. We always had a crisis for a location. People here are not familiar with the open source ecosystem. But we managed to have school rooms and govt halls sometimes. But most of the time we didn’t have authority to open or close in our desirable time.
Then I met the founder and CEO of seats2meet.com Mr. Ronald Van Den Hoff. He was so amazing to offer me to set up an open source program to run inside the location. It boosted our plan 10 times. He helped us to buy some chairs and tables and we are ready to go. People started visiting us. Kids joined to learn computers and English. We started PFLab , Learn English and “visiting a school” program inside the location.
Here is a photo–
Visiting a school every month was one of my successful initiatives by S2M,Bangladesh. I found many cool and enthusiastic kids out there whom I never could find being in my location. I have 18 S2m volunteers and most of them found me in our programs.
Our idea of open source learning and experiencing became popular. We start getting love and sympathy.
People started visiting us in good numbers. My friend Ronald asked me to start a computer class with the kids so that they can learn basics and have the skill to play with it. I did so. Well, I made a mistake there.
I used the word ‘’free’’ instead of the word “open source’’. The result was, people start thinking it’s a charity space or organisation. They start thinking people from Europe send me millions of euros for this stuff. Jurjen warned me many times not to use the word free because people will stop contributing. But it was so dumb from myside that I said so. Anyway, It was not a bad move either. We were teaching computers to kids and young people in good numbers. Sometimes we had to do two shifts. My cousins helped me quite often. there are some pictures of computer classes—-
I would like to thank one of my friends for sharing one of his laptops in every single seatsmeet class.
This became our daily life with ‘’Tech Friday’’ with a Permanent future lab where every friday we spend 3 hours and learn/show new tech. Just to boost the PFLab program a little far we invited one of my tech dude who works with robotics and IOT. He humbly accepted my invitation and came to my village for 3 days and taught us the basic arduino and so on. My PFLab people were so amazed to see how easy it is to work with robotics. Here we think robot means all the Human based robots we see in movies. That was an awesome time with Shahed Oali Noor.
Seats2meet Bangladesh was having all these programs going on after that Ronald sir asked me to involve some women. Well, we are a muslim majority country. Women are not often allowed to be social or in a program what I mean here. Although we created a workshop about Women empowerment in the central school in our village. We wanted to continue the program but we had to stop it, you can guess why. Met so many enthusiastic girls. They were very keen to learn.
Time flew and it was the birthday of PFLab in that month. I planned to have a big party inside the space. I bought cakes and decorated the location nicely. Kids came and we had an amazing day!
See some pictures here–
Jurjen was so overwhelmed to see this.That’s my pleasure. When I told him that I bought the cake, he wasn’t happy at all. He always urges me to build something together. Well that’s the idea off course but I wanted to give a surprise to everyone so I had to buy.
Then a few weeks or months goes like this when Jurjen himself visits us. That week is still the best week for me.
We had a lot of fun in the village and had an amazing festival and we called it Sharing is caring. We both already wrote articles about this festival in our seats2meet magazine.
Some photos from his trip—–
We were supposed to have another program in April or May but Corona hitted the world. So we had to close our location. Well it’s not the end. We are still maintaining and making programs in S2m in different ways.
We make programs by going home to home. We do jungle camping as we can’t open the office due to government restrictions and so on. Helping each other to fight the corona and food security.
You can read my article S2M Bangladesh on the Corona virus situation.
Due to coronavirus people are having food crises. I was looking for a solution. Again Jurjen came to the rescue. He gave me an idea of open source farming. I have a little land in abundance and used my cousin and s2m guys to plant and grow things together. We already got some spinach and green vegetables. Some are already delivered in houses including mine.
Here is another article that I wrote in detail about open source farming.
Coronavirus in Bangladesh is growing rapidly and I had to stop making programs and travelling. So I am now inside home and yeah teaching basic english to the S2m guys online and little tech talk everyday. I stay in a different village due to a home crisis. Here I make a tech group after the name of this village . Here we also make programs powered by S2m and here we initiate PFLab only. Make it an open source group. People are contributing their knowledge and information. Seems like this village has many curious and skillful minds.
Let see when this corona thing will go and when we will be back in our daily life. I miss that crowded room. sweetness of kids and curious minds asking me nonsense questions with an innocent smile.
Thank you for reading the blog. Wish us good luck. Stay healthy.