It was a late afternoon of October at Aushkandi training centre at Habiganj; Uttoron team was waiting for an interview with Ribu Ahmed, an Uttoron graduate. Ribu, a 24-year-old resident of Aushkandi received training on welding from Uttoron. It was a working day, so Ribu was on a tight schedule. He came to the training center on his way home for a late lunch. At first, Ribu seemed a bit formal and cautious, but gradually he eased up and started talking about life and work more spontaneously. "So, how is your business going?" asked Uttoron. Ribu smiled and answered, "It is going well". Ribu runs his own welding and automobile workshop at Aushkandi bazaar. He started his own business after finishing the three months of training.
Mohammad Ribu Ahmed, the youngest among his 6 siblings, studied up to seventh grade and then dropped out of school. Ribu's family is quite well-off. His is a joint family where most decisions are taken by his older brothers, who run the family welding workshop. "Why did you drop out of school?": answering this question Ribu said, "I didn't like studying at all, I was really naive, and no one in my family actually gave much importance to education and tried to convince me to continue my study".
"What did you do after leaving school?" asked Uttoron. Ribu answered, "Nothing, absolutely nothing! I would just hang out with my friends, and had no plan or ambition in life, but my life changed with one incident. Someone very special to me one day pointed out that I don't have any education, degree, or qualification, and I am a worthless person with no honor. The statement was shocking for me, and I realized that I had to make something of myself. So first, I started to go to my family-owned welding workshop and got interested in welding. I learned welding in a very informal setting. But I knew unless I have formal training and certificate, I will not be able to apply for jobs or official tenders."
Ribu heard the miking promotion about Uttoron and later learned about the training from a friend who was a graduate of Uttoron. So, he consulted with his elder brother, who also consented that it is a good idea to get formal training on welding.
When asked, "You already had a basic idea about welding, so what is your takeaway from the training?", Ribu promptly answered, "Safety issues. After starting the Uttoron training, I realized how important it is to maintain safety standards. It is not only important for personal safety, but it is also important because many formal contracts require an understanding of the safety-related rules and guidelines."
"What is your plan for the future? Asked Uttoron. "I want to expand my business. I am talking to a friend of mine about a business partnership. He works as a contractor for the Chevron gas field in Sylhet. I hope to become a big contractor one day or have a good job".
When asked "What is your suggestion for youth?", Ribu said, "I remembered the day when I went home with my certificate. Everyone was so happy. Even though I have a family welding shop, I really want to do something out of life. If possible, I would like to go abroad and work with this certificate. I would like to tell the young people of Aushkandi to do something of their own, not to depend on others, and to have their own identity. There is no honor in being unemployed and not having any qualification; no one respects you if you are unemployed and without qualifications, and one should not have a life without respect and honor."
Ribu is an example of how Uttoron is making a difference in lives of many youths. Uttoron training helped Ribu to gain respect in the society and more confidence to build a brighter future.