With the gentle rain creating the perfect ambiance for ‘Boishakhi’ (the first seasonal month of the Bengali calendar) in Dubai this weekend, the Amra Notun Bangladesh Expat Student Association organised a two-day event to mark the beginning of the Bengali New year, 1420. The event was organised with the support of the University of Wollongong in Dubai Student Services team.
“We celebrate the new year annually with our students and community,” commented Fariha Khan, president of Amra Notun club. “But this was the first time that we had greater support from the student community, the Bangladeshi community, teachers from the Central School and our sponsors.”
Over 350 students and parents from various backgrounds attended the event sponsored by Western Union, Air Arabia and Bangla Express magazine. Various musical competitions were organised and the event was compered by Razib Khan of Excel Sports.
“The mood and decorations were so festive that we felt that we had been transported back to Bangladesh,” commented Amal Suleiman, a student at UOWD.
“Amra Notun always brings us such fun, educative and entertaining events that there was no way we were going to miss it this year,” said another UOWD student, Mohammad Abdulla.
With a variety of competitions from dancing to singing, poetry recitals, painting, cooking and a 40-minute cultural show put up by Nurun Nahar Huda and Kaneez from the Central School, the hall buzzed with excitement and activity. This year, Bangla Bazaar also had a three-round Antakshari competition, where teams battled it out against each other in the midst of songs and music, and a raffle draw to give away return tickets to Bangladesh from Air Arabia.
“Our club aims to entertain and educate students and the greater community,” said Zeenath Khan, founder and faculty coordinator of the club, and a lecturer at UOWD. “So, we don’t just put on cultural shows, but also work towards betterment of the community, with projects such as the Aami Porthe Chai scholarship program, bringing in community members to help raise funds to financially assist Bangladeshi students in schools.”