Often the passion to work for society gets ingrained in someone at a nascent stage and Ashraful Hussain is no exception. With a penchant for writing from a young age, Ashraful who hails from Bahari village in Barpeta district has been writing on issues plaguing the State, specifically soil erosion and communities uprooted by it. Over the years, he has spread his wings in the sphere of social work by empowering villagers, advocating computer literacy and taking part in anti-trafficking campaigns.
Regarding his journey into social work, he says, ‘I hail from an erosion ridden place. When I was young, severe erosion had rendered almost 300 people in my area homeless. I helped them to set up new homes. So, you can say that was my first brush with social work. When I was in LP School, some people used to defecate in our school. I raised my voice against this by writing a letter to the principal. These acts stopped subsequently. I also wrote letters to the principal demanding a fan in our classroom during summer.’
Ashraful who wrote for leading publications like Asomiya Pratidin, now operates as a freelance journalist. He has his own blog and also writes for other publications. An engineer by profession, he is working in a factory in Lalganesh.
Working with a Delhi based NGO called Empower People, he had traced girls who were trafficked from Assam. ‘We rescued one girl from West Bengal. To trace another girl, we had scouted Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and finally found her in Lucknow. I try to spread awareness among villagers so that they don’t fall in the clutches of traffickers.’
Regarding his current work, he says, ‘ I have started an NGO called Uttaran Mission. We try to spread awareness in char areas. We arrange for film screenings in brick kilns. We have also tried to increase computer literacy and teach people to write in Assamese on their mobile phones. Till now, I have taught more than 100 people to do so and by next year, I want to touch the target of 1000.’
Ashraful has also raised his voice for people who are forcibly evicted from their land. He along with his group of volunteers has gone to places like Dholpur in Sipajhar, Darrang district to oppose the eviction of people who were unfairly tagged as Bangladeshis.