Yusuf Munna, founder and CEO of Reflective Teens, a young change maker at Ashoka and also a TEDx Speaker, has been working with teenagers for the past seven years and helping them flourish their creativity in varied spheres along with breaking the stereotypes of the society. Here’s what he had to say
“If you can turn 50 taka into 150 then people will believe that you can turn 500 into 5000.”
Writing is one of the fields you excel in. How did you start it?
My father inspired me to write since I was a child. I remember myself writing since grade four which limited in poems only. Later in class seven, my journal changed, and I started writing articles also sent them to newspapers, but those were always rejected.
So what was the idea behind Reflective Teens?
After being rejected for a long time, I still hung in there, and one day, fortunately, I got acquainted with an Editor of a newspaper, and within a week my article was published. It made me ponder over the fact that the way of aspiring teens to reach the mainstream is rough and tough. That’s when I started Reflective Teens for shaping the move smooth.
It will be a pleasure if you could share who and how you all are involved in behind the scenes of Reflective Teens.
Initially, I, along with my friends and also with the help of my teachers, started it as a web magazine and gradually we captured some media attention. Now we are a family of 50 members, working with five flagships, we reached out to 43000 teenagers to make their dreams come true.
Would you reminisce the story of TED Talk and Nepal tour?
Oh yes. I got to speak in TEDx Youth @CCS when a visiting lecturer Mr Andrew came down from the USA for this programme.
And also I visited Nepal to tell my story in the Glocal International Teen conference where teens from various South Asian and African countries gather.
Struggles are always a part of the journey. Something about yours?
When you want to something out of the league, the first thing you got a do is to convince your parents. Then again people will appreciate but won’t come forward to give a hand. But you have no choice in hand. Either you give up, or you do.
Last but not least, anything you want to suggest to teenagers?
To all my fellow juniors, start doing it. Once you do it, there is no going back.