Mohammad Taqi Yasir (Bar Professional Training Course, 2019) was recently recognised in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia for his work as co-founder and vice-president of Footsteps, a development organisation in Bangladesh. We spoke to Mohammad about the recognition, his goals to provide help and support to other people, and his studies at City.
“Honestly, it feels surreal to be recognised by Forbes 30 under 30 Asia. If you had told me a year back that I would be recognised by Forbes, I would have laughed and taken it as a joke,” Mohammad Taqi Yasir says.
As the co-founder and vice-president of development organisation Footsteps in Bangladesh, Mohammad was recognised in the category for Social Impact. According to Footstep’s website, the organisation aims to “… empower communities by integrating the right set of skills and technologies to overcome their social challenges which are currently limiting their development.”
“This recognition is a testament that hard work pays off and will serve as a reminder in times of difficulties. This will continue to inspire me, even after the age of 30, to work hard and proliferate the impact of my work.”
Influenced by his father, Mohammad knew from a young age that he wanted to support those around him.
“I grew up seeing my father help people in every manner possible – from providing food and shelter to helping them with legal disputes. I used to accompany my father when he was out helping people, and this allowed me to engage with them and learn about their lives and circumstances.”
With time, Mohammad realised he could choose a profession that would increase his opportunities to make a difference.
“While being with them, I often used to see them referring to their circumstances as “unfair”. Those conversations introduced me to the concepts of justice, fairness and equity and I wanted to study those concepts in order to understand them and work towards ensuring justice and fairness prevailed. That’s how I was motivated to study law.”
Having completed his undergraduate degree in Law in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mohammad decided to pursue his Bar Professional Training Course at City.
“I completed my LLB hearing about City, University of London being referred to as having the best bar school,” Mohammad says. “Furthermore, most of the leading lawyers in Bangladesh as well as my tutors, have completed their BPTC (as the course was named during my time) from City, University of London. All of these were decisive factors in selecting City, University of London for my BPTC.”
For Mohammad, it was the right choice.
“Studying at City was one of the best academic decisions of my life. I had a wonderful time from the start until the very end,” he says and reflects on how the staff and his fellow students made a big impact.
“Throughout the course, I had academic support from an excellent teaching faculty, non-academic support from a very student-friendly admin team and unparalleled access to materials needed to succeed in the course. I have made amazing friends with whom I am connected to date and have forged networks that have been beneficial to me.”
Today, Mohammad’s legal knowledge brings great benefits to the work being done at Footsteps.
“Studying law has significantly enhanced and honed my researching, critical thinking, analytical, multi-tasking, and problem-solving skills. All of these skills are essential when designing and developing development initiatives to address the needs of a community,” Mohammad explains and continues:
“The impact of my law education extends to the execution of initiatives as well. Almost every development initiative, at the execution stage, raises legal and compliance concerns which I have been able to guide and advise on better because of my Law education.”
According to Mohammad, Footsteps has received numerous recognitions, both local and international, for its impact. It’s an impressive achievement, especially considering that Mohammad and Shah Rafayat Chowdhury, Footstep’s founder and President, were only teenagers when Shah Rafayat Chowdhury suggested they start a development organisation.
“Working in the development sector is itself a challenge as your work impacts the lives of people. As such, we face challenges of different sorts and types on a regular basis. However, the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far has been our age. Footsteps was created when I was in high school. It was not easy being high schoolers and thereafter as university students to secure adequate funds, resources and trust from people in our projects. Most people would not even listen and would simply ask us to focus on our studies instead. Nevertheless, there have been a few people whose initial support gave us the flight we needed to reach where we are.”
In addition to working with Footsteps, Mohammad is also the co-founder and Managing Director of Planet X Inc Ltd.
“Planet X Inc Ltd is an impact technology company that designs solutions and technology to augment the lives of people and to make organisations more efficient,” Mohammad explains.
“During the start of COVID-19, we developed a remote temperature monitoring device called Thersor that allows the temperature of vaccine refrigerators to be monitored in real-time remotely. This is to ensure that the highly temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines are properly maintained. Furthermore, we have developed a water flow measuring device named MeaWaCo, which measures the flow rate of water in real-time and also records the amount consumed within a certain period of time. As part of our CSR [corporate social responsibility], we have recently launched Shebok, an online platform dedicated to enable anyone and everyone to engage in community service or through donations of any kind.”
And that’s not all …
“I am also an Associate at Stellar Chambers, where I am engaged in advisory legal services as well as in litigation and dispute resolution works, and an Adjunct Faculty Member at London College of Legal Studies (South), where I teach Equity and Trusts and the Law of Evidence.”
If someone would like to achieve a career similar to Mohammad’s, what advice would he give?
“My advice would be to ask yourself not once but five times whether you truly want such a career and whether you have the passion and drive for it. Honestly, if you are not passionate and if you don’t truly want it, it’s best not to walk in that direction.
“Honestly speaking, it has not been an easy ride and I know that the journey ahead will possibly be harder. When deciding on a career, people only consider the challenges that may be faced within the career aspect of one’s life; they do not consider the personal, societal and family challenges that they may face. Those challenges are not easy to handle and may constantly push you to give up. Thus, the drive and passion are necessary to keep going in times when your world may seem to be falling.”
Looking toward the future, Mohammad has ambitious plans, which include going global with Footsteps and becoming one of the largest, if not the largest, development organisation in the world.
“As a citizen of a developing country, I have been able to witness and experience some of the hardships that life has to offer,” Mohammad says. “It is those challenges that motivated me to create movements that would create propitious impacts and sustainable solutions and enhance the abilities of people to overcome the challenges they face. This may sound like an unrealistic ambition, but I plan to work towards it until the end of my time to ensure my work outlives me and achieves the goals I have set. Cofounding Footsteps and ensuring its growth is part of the plan in this regard.”
A big congratulations to Mohammad Taqi Yasir for being recognised in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia, and a thank you for sharing his story.