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CHARITY NEWS Islamic Relief project in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Caterers Association has been representing the Bangladeshi curry industry for over 50 years. The BCA has always had a firm commitment towards giving back to the community both in Britain and Bangladesh. As part of this on-going dedication following on from the BCA’s 50th anniversary in which Islamic Relief was named as the chosen charity. General Secretary Pasha Khandaker visited Islamic Relief’s Bangladesh projects in Dhaka, Sylhet and Jainta and wanted to see first-hand how Islamic Relief was helping to transform the lives of those living in Bangladesh. Islamic Relief’s dedication towards empowering communities to self sustain was one of the contributing factors as to why the BCA chose Islamic Relief as their charity.

Mr Khandaker together with Razaul Karim the London and South Area Manager visited VTESS (Vocational Training Educational Support Services) in Dhaka. The project enables individuals from socially deprived backgrounds of all age groups to obtain access to education and training. He was impressed by the development aspect of Islamic Relief’s work and highly commended the facilities and range of opportunities given to the less fortunate. This is a crucial element of the work that

Islamic Relief carries out in mobilising and empowering communities rather than merely handing out aid.

Mr Khandaker then visited Sylhet where he saw one of the major projects that Islamic Relief is carrying out in the city. The Earthquake Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction project is being carried out in partnership with the Sylhet City Corporation. The project trains and equips communities to be prepared in the event of an earthquake through taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of communities. Volunteer groups in the villages and boroughs have been set up to coordinate an effective response in the event of such a tragedy.

Volunteers are trained in search and rescue, first aid, fire and safety and are also given appropriate equipment such as first aid boxes, overalls, stretchers, fire extinguishers and other life saving tools. Further awareness is being generated amongst households through regular training sessions inside villages to ensure households take appropriate measures to ensure minimal loss to life. Central to this whole programme is the concept of proactive development as opposed to reactionary it’s about minimising casualties by empowering communities.

The final stop was Jainta which is on the outskirts of Sylhet. The water project was of an interest to Mr Khandaker due to the vast problem of arsenic contamination of water


Bangladesh and the importance of water in our daily lives. He together with Razaul visited many households

in the

impoverished area of Jainta visiting areas where water wells have been installed and in cases where due to contamination of water, rain water harvest systems were put in place. He was touched by the difference access to water has made, from saving lives to restoring baron lands.

After his three-day visit witnessing how Islamic Relief’s work is having an impact on the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh Mr Khandaker remarked, “I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the donors and volunteers who make this work possible and then to the organisation for providing the platform for this wonderful work to be carried out across the globe in particular in my mother land where a huge difference is being made. The BCA are committed to helping those in need and we look forward to continue to work with Islamic Relief to raise awareness and funds for the disadvantaged.”

In recent discussions between Islamic Relief and the BCA a joint project has been agreed and will be rolled out in the near future so watch this space.

by Safiya Syed Baharun Press Officer, Islamic Relief

34  The Bangladesh Cuisine

Curry & Tandoori | Volume 11 | December 2011

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