A physically challenged youth in the remote Haziganj Bhatitari village of Aditmari upazila in Lalmonirhat is using music to inspire children in his village.
Udoy Chandra Roy, 19, lacked function in his arms and legs since birth and is dependent on a wheelchair. His father passed away when he was just a toddler. His mother Usa Rani works in a garments factory in Dhaka.
He lives with his grandparents and goes to a local school for the especially abled.
In 2018, when Udoy was a student of class nine, he founded a social welfare organisation -- Mayer Anchal Unnayan Sangstha -- at his grandparents’ home. There, he runs a free school every Friday with over 20 students, who come to learn and practice folk music, particularly Bhawaiya, on various musical instruments.
Udoy said, “My mother sends me some money every month and I use my disability allowance to run the school. I also collect funds from relatives and donations from locals to operate the school and organisation to help the especially abled, orphans and the poor.”
Folk music enthusiasts from nearby areas visit the school every Friday to hear the children play ektara, dotara, sarinda, flute, harmonium and dhol.
Suklal Roy, 40, a local Bhawaiya artiste in the village, said he and other folk artistes in the village take out time for these students upon the request of Udoy. “We guide them on how to play these instruments.”
Udoy’s 66-year-old grandfather Bhupendra Nath Roy, a farmer, said, he is proud of his grandson. “He is a benevolent kid, always helping others. He helps the disabled get their allowances, arranges food, clothes, and even money for orphans and the poor.”
“I help Udoy bathe, dress, eat and go to school. Even though he is dependent on others, he never shies from helping others,” said his 60-year-old grandmother Nani Bala. “We love our grandson very much. He always has a smile on his face.”
Thirteen-year-old Sufola Rani, who is learning Bhawaiya, said, “We eagerly wait to attend our music lessons every weekend. We are grateful for this opportunity, all thanks to Udoy.”
“I am determined to continue such social welfare works my whole life,” Uday told The Daily Star recently.