By AM Sakil Faizullah
Dhaka, 17 October 2012: Instead of mesmerizing the audience with magic spell, the acclaimed illusion artist of Bangladesh Jewel Aich, who joined forces with UNICEF as a Child Rights Advocate in 2011, was himself mesmerized by children during a live radio show which is designed and conducted by children.
During the show, Anisha, a student of 4th grade called the station over phone with great excitement. Jewel Aich and the presenters were stopped abruptly by her immediately as she wanted to share the greatest achievement of her life.
“Today, I am going to be recognized as a daughter by my father whom I have never seen since my birth”, Anisha said.
Then she explained that her father, a migrant worker, has been abroad for nine years and left Bangladesh before she was born. On that very day, when Jewel Aich was there to talk to the children, Anisha’s father was returning home.
“I am so excited today – today my right as a daughter will be established – today I am going to meet my father for the very first time in my life”, Anisha added.
Those words of joy and the feeling of accomplishment of the child surpassed everything! So the magician, Jewel Aich, surrendered to that spell and felt charmed by the elation and fulfilment of the child.
Jewel Aich had this interaction with the children at the ABC Radio station which has partnered with UNICEF to create a platform for children, especially vulnerable and marginalised children, so that they can air their views and concerns at a national platform for two hours every weekend with iconic cartoon animation characters Meena, Mithu and Raju as radio presenters.
“I feel privileged to be with these children – they are so honest and expressive”, said Jewel Aich.
Throughout the show, Jewel Aich, was captivated by the words, knowledge and thoughts of the children about issues related to their life and rights.
At one point of the show, he wanted to learn from the participating children about ‘child rights’. They all came up with the right answers, which included basic human rights, special care for children at early age, the right of being loved and so on.
“I am pleasantly surprised by these children. Without any hesitation, I am ready to admit that children know a lot of things, which adults like myself also do not know. In matters where adults are unsure about the actions that need to be taken to resolve a certain problem they clearly know about the entire issue”, Jewel Aich added.
Jewel Aich, gifted with the ability of showmanship skills, was fascinated by the art of magic from a young age and started entertaining when he was a teenager. He has fought for the independence of Bangladesh by taking part in combat. When he became ill during the war in 1971, he took up a non-combatant role teaching students in refugee camps, and inspiring the freedom fighters.
He has associated himself with UNICEF Bangladesh from 2011 to promote child rights and create mass awareness in the areas of child labour, birth registration, violence against children, child and maternal health, children and HIV/AIDS, situation of children living in the slum and child immunization.