Young people across Commonwealth countries raised the “Flag of Peace” in honor of Commonwealth Day on March 13, 2023. This initiative was supported by various organizations, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the Royal Commonwealth Society, and Bruno Peek, Pageantmaster. The Peace Flags were specially designed and distributed to young people in Commonwealth countries around the world, with the intention of raising them on Commonwealth Day as part of the effort to promote 2023 as the Commonwealth Year of Peace. Commonwealth Day is celebrated annually by people from various regions, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific, and Europe. The theme for Commonwealth Day 2023 was “Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future”.
The Commonwealth Flag for Peace featured a white dove of peace in the bottom right-hand corner of the Commonwealth flag, symbolizing the shared values and principles of the Commonwealth, including economic and social development cooperation, diversity, respect, friendship, and peace promotion worldwide. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust helped galvanize youth across the Commonwealth to participate in flag-raising ceremonies as part of the 2023 Commonwealth Year of Youth. A young person in each Commonwealth country was selected to help raise the flag and take part in the ceremonies.
To represent Bangladesh, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust’s young leader, Sadia Jafrin, founder and CEO of Grow Your Reader Foundation, was selected to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Charter by raising the Commonwealth of Nations’ Flag of Peace at 11:00 a.m. local time in Dhaka. The event took place at the head office of Grow Your Reader Foundation, where The NextFighters and the Ambassadors (Volunteers) of Grow Your Reader Foundation raised all 56 flags of the Commonwealth countries. The young volunteers gathered and conducted the event and gave a wonderful musical performance.
Grow Your Reader Foundation is a registered non-profit organization that works to develop the quality of education in Bangladesh and ensure that more children have the opportunity to be enlightened by proper education. They install numerous library stations in different corners of Bangladesh, including mobile, street, and online libraries, and provide teacher training facilities since 2016. They are also developing different curricula for enhancing reading skills, social-emotional learning (SEL), sustainable living, child food, and nutrition to ensure quality education. They also teach children online so that their learning process is not stopped even when their schools are closed due to unavoidable circumstances. So far, around 50,000 people have been positively impacted by their various projects across the country. Their “Wheels of Wisdom – WoW” project is one of the 15th EIFL Public Library Innovation Award winners and runs in three different divisions: Barisal, Mymensingh, and Jashore. The wheels cover 12 areas. Till now, 8,500 children have borrowed 7,400 books, and 34,000 hours of internet access have been provided. Their street library project, “Book Garage,” runs in Dhaka, Jamalpur, and Tangail, with 19 street libraries. Till now, 4500 children have benefited from this project. They have educational content in Bangladesh’s first audiobook app, “Sunboi,” and their YouTube channel. They have an after-school program in Jashore where university students teach underserved children for free.