The Gulshan Society was established in 2002 as a non-profitable and non-political voluntary organisation. It works for bringing the Gulshan residents together
Monirul Haque and Farida Akhter, an elderly married couple from Baridhara area of the city, visit the Gulshan Society Lake Park regularly to breath the fresh air.
They are especially fond of the thriving trees decorated with hanging clay pots- the bird's nesting places that protect the house sparrows and other small ones from the stormy wind.
"Although there is a beautiful park in Baridhara DOHS, we prefer roaming around the lake park. Its natural ambience is very soothing," said Monirul Haque.
More than a decade ago, the park was in a mess. It is the relentless effort of the Gulshan Society, a community organisation, that transformed it into a piece of greenery, a livable habitat for birds and a breathing place for citizens.
In 2007, the Gulshan Society took the responsibility of the park from Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).
With generous donations from the members, the society has paved the 930-metre walkway of the park with ceramic bricks, constructed an amphitheatre for open-air cultural activities and a number of sitting points. The society has created a mechanism to ensure the proper maintenance of the park.
The Gulshan Society was established in 2002 as a non-profitable and non-political voluntary organisation. It works for bringing the Gulshan residents together. From the beginning, the society has been involved in numerous activities to make the Gulshan area of the city a livable place.
In 2016, the Gulshan Society introduced 'Adopt A Road' – a public-private-partnership programme – endorsed by the then Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Annisul Huq. According to the initiative, a resident of the area takes the responsibility of a road. That is, the person pays the bills of the maintenance cost of the road. A worker of the society works for him. Right now, 144 roads in Gulshan have been adopted by various persons.
Workers of the society have placed road signs at various intersections to assist people in locating their destinations within the area. They have also covered the footpaths with ceramic bricks. No waste can be found in the roads across the Gulshan Society territory covering the Rajuk's Gulshan Model Town.
Every day the cleaners keep the Gulshan roads and alleys neat so that the road marks for traffic control remain bright and the drainage system works.
"Gulshan is a clean area compare to other areas of the city. This is a perfect residential area," said Shahabuddin Ahmed, a resident of Gulshan.
The Gulshan Society Jame Mosque is considered as one of the "crowning achievements" of Gulshan Society. The 10-storey mosque can accommodate around 4,000 Muslims for offering their prayers at a time.
Since its establishment, the society has been organising different community programmes to strengthen the social bonding among the residents.
For example, the society organized 'Para Utsab'– a community festival on December 20 last year. The festival was attended by the Gulshan residents who took part in many traditional sports, open music sessions and storytelling.
Dignitaries present in the event admitted that hectic urban life deepens isolation. They stressed on organising such programmes to restore social bonding among the local people.
The society also organises workshops on the mental wellbeing of the residents. Besides, it works with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP). A few months ago, a handsome amount of fund for the CRP was collected through a sculpture exhibition in Gulshan.
"We are planning to organise an event titled 'Run for your Grandmother' where teenage girls and senior women would participate," said Barrister Shukla Sarwat Siraj, general secretary of Gulshan Society.
The society also organises programmes to celebrate the national days. In Independence Day, veteran freedom fighters residing in Gulshan were felicitated. The local youngsters learned stories of the war from the veterans at the event.
Last year, a mobile van of the Liberation War Museum arrived in Gulshan on the society's invitation for a week-long exhibition. Shukla said a similar exhibition will be arranged on March 26 this year too.
"The young generation should be committed to serve the nation. They should learn about the country's history and culture. To spread this spirit among them, we are going to organise a book fair on February 28. This will also be a celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth centenary," said Barrister Shukla Sarwat.
The book fair will also host a writing and painting camp for the children, she added.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 members of the society. All residents of Gulshan who have been living there for at least a year prior to filing their application is eligible for membership with a monthly contribution fee.