Asiatic Mindshare Bangladesh Ltd with a unique social awareness initiative has recently staged a play featuring autistic children and the company’s employees. The play is a part of an annual social responsibility program undertaken by Mindshare.
Mindshare is part of world’s largest advertising media company GroupM which observes the annual ‘Power of One’ day event where all of the group’s employees halt their work for a day at the workplace and participate in a social cause.
The New York based advertising media giant has 32,000 employees and 400 offices in over 100 countries. Mindshare, one of its eight main agencies, has presence in over 80 countries across continents and employs approximately six thousand professionals.
The ‘Power of One’ day, observed by all companies under GroupM, is also celebrated and enacted by the Mindshare’s Bangladesh office annually. Like previous years Bangladesh Asiatic Mindshare employees participated in fundraising for the poor, carried out cleanliness activities among much other social work and this year it planned to do something that would have a stronger cultural impact for a worthy cause and societal contribution. As part of this plan the company employees wrote a play titled ‘Bhalobashay Prithibi’ means the world in full of love.
This play was performed to raise awareness about autism, a growing mental health condition in Bangladesh. Researchers at the Institute For Peadiatric Neurodisorder And Autism (IPNA) of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in a nationwide survey found that 17 in every 10,000 had the condition. The survey was conducted by experts in relevant fields and they examined 38,440 children between 16 and 30 months of age last year. The rural prevalence was 14 per 10,000, whereas 25 children per 10,000 were diagnosed in the urban areas.
While a scarcity of early prevention facilities creates one of the biggest obstacles toward managing this health crisis, the social stigma further exacerbates the situation. Parents of families are often in denial when known signs are observed and often don’t take the initiative to start early treatment. Experts unanimously agree that early intervention is very important. Early intervention – that is identified early, diagnosed early, and having access to activities and therapies that promote their development – gives the best outcome.
The story of the play follows protagonists Faria and Arnab, who after a long relationship get married. A little fussy and perfectionist Faria wants everything to work out flawlessly. A laid back and a little introverted Arnab seems the right fit with her. The couple is blessed with a child after few years of their marriage. Leaving all pessimism behind everything appears optimistic and normal in their lives with their son Nijhum. But Nijhum while turning four, people start to notice there is something off with the child. They seek medical help and Nijhum is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or simply known as autism. As everything turns upside down in the hitherto perfect family of Faria and Arnab, the family fights the hardship of raising an autistic son. The story progresses with Nijhum getting better with relentless efforts from the parents and the teachers at a specialized school. The play ends on an impactful note to make a lasting impression on the viewers.
Employees of Mindshare and autistic students from Hope Autism Centre acted in the play, which has since been recorded and broadcast by ATN Bangla, which also participated as the media partner for the event. The story of the play was written by Mindhsare Senior Copywriter Riazul Alam Shawon and directed by Shahid Un Nabi. All the proceeds from the play and the broadcast will be donated to Hope Autism Centre.