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Im honestly honored to be part of your amazing project. You guys left a really huge mark in my heart and have influenced my every move now that i am back in Dubai. Although the time spent there was short but what i have learnt would last a lifetime.
- I have learnt the 1 Dirham is equal to 18 Takas which can buy 9 bananas for the children
- I have learnt that nearly 30 dhs can buy a child a uniform
- I have learnt that 3,000 dhs can build a family a brick home that would shelter them from monsoon season.
- I have learnt not to sweat the small stuff
- I have learnt not to wine and be grateful for everything I have
- I have learnt to be more passionate in what I do because some people never get the chance do what they enjoy or like.
- I have learnt to smile more
- I have learnt to be part of a team and to work together in sync
- I have learnt that a simple donation can do such a big difference
- I have learnt that even something simple such as face paint can brighten up a Childs life
- I have learnt to give and not expect anything in return
- I have learnt to help people forget about their problems even if its for a second
- I have learnt to love people I have never met before
- I have learnt to give attention and praise the children, students, and peoples abilities and give them more self confidence
- I have learnt how to say thank you and I love you and Bangla (thank you = Dhonobad , I love you = Balobashi)
thank you for making me a better me :)
Miss you all so much!


Anas Feedback


Anas came last week from Dubai with Mariam and Bader
Let me to try to recall how all of this started. Well I 1st found-out about the Dhaka Project & Maria through the 7 Days paper in Dubai, then I found her on facebook and that’s how the contact started. Since then I’ve always mentioned my interest in going to Dhaka to my mom and wife, who both are always interested in visiting these places and providing help to those who need it, therefore I was talking to the right people =) !

Recently Mariam (my wife) got an assignment for providing community service in one of her courses and this gave us the right opportunity to visit Dhaka. She mentioned the idea to her teacher, who loved it and there we were preparing & coordinating with Maria to visit her as soon as we can.

Letter of invitation received, visas issued, tickets purchased, got absence of leave in the last minute from work (wasn’t that easy of-course), Maria notifed and off we were.

Day 1 (26/02/08):

We arrive after a delay in mid-air because of bad visibility, therefore that got us behind around 2 hrs. We go through the airport, which wasn’t that difficult and as soon as we were out we find Maria waiting for us with one of her trademark smiles. She takes us to the Dhaka Project Guest House and we loved it. It was more than we expected; cozy, very good space, hot water, AC (this is mandatory for me of-course =P ) and very clean. As soon as our bags were in the apartment, we were off for a tour around the Dhaka Project, while Maria and her team explained to us how it all started from 2 small houses and where they’ve reached now. Now they have 2 schools, one that is divided through different areas (all close-by) and is called the TDP (The Dhaka Project) School and it caters for 150 students. The other, which is one big building, called the Emirates Airlines Foundation School, which caters for 450 students. Not bad huh !

That was Phase 1 of the day. In between we had lunch @ the preschool and then it was Phase 2. In Phase 2, Maria & her team took us around the slums of Dhaka where they had found the kids who are students in their schools now. Honestly you should just see the slums! It was so interesting to see. Very interesting, especially to me. I love visiting these places, absorbing the surroundings and imagining the different lifestyles that are being led in our world today. The conditions that these families and children live in, it’s just crazy and to see where and how Maria & her team have brought-in, not only their children, but their families too, to the project is simply great. They take care of them all and it’s lovely to see and imagine the future of these kids. Giving them education, knowledge and the confidence needed to start their lives and the opportunity & chance to become doctors, engineers, pilots, navy personnel, etc… is just great to see. These people @ the Dhaka, in my opinion, are changing a whole generation, which will change the whole country and “inshala” provide a good change to our world.

By the end of the day we had to visit the Special Burn Unit & Plastic Surgery Hospital. Seeing the poor conditions that the burnt patients were living-in, I don’t want to even know how they perform plastic surgery (and this was supposedly the best hospital around)! We started giving the patients some blankets and some stuffed toys & booklets for the burnt kids. At-least for most of them we could see that we got their minds off their pain for at-least a couple of minutes and that was definitely worth it.

We concluded with……PIZZA HUT ! A tomato & cheese pizza, with extra cheese, ooooohhhh, tasty! And that was all I need =P . After that we headed back to the Guest House and what can I say; it was a long day, we slept like babies =) !

P.S. I have to say this, for all you photography lovers (me being one of them), Dhaka is such a photogenic city, the colors, the place, all very beautiful !

Day 2 (27/02/08):

Maaaaan we were tired. We hadn’t slept well for 2 days. We actually slept around 3 hrs, which was in the plane, other than that, NO. So I wake-up as scheduled @ 7:30 am, see (Florence or Flo as we call her, a very very sweet lady), who came to wake us up. I check-on Mariam and Bader, our friend, who is accompanying us on the trip and well, in-short we asked for an extension of sleep ehaha, we were still exhausted! So we wake @ 10:00 am now, go to the old-school, Mariam starts to face-paint the kids, they loved it! Me & Bader head to the market, which was far, to purchase some paints for some art paintings that Mariam has promised for the old & new schools. After purchasing the paints we come back to the old-school where Mariam is doing more face-paintings. Sooo, we start painting the old-school outer wall, while Mariam is doing her face-paints. We get each student available to paint on the wall and write what they want to be and place one hand-print next to it using the color of their choice. The statement would say “I will be a …….”; we got a lot of pilots surprisingly (I’m guessing the influence came from Maria, who works in Emirates Airlines actually =P ), other than that there were dr.’s, engineers, etc. The idea was Maria’s, who wanted the kids to believe in what they want to be and imprint their goals in their minds from this young age, which I thought is a great idea.

That used-up the whole day. It was a looooong process. Oh & by night-time the place was swarmed by mosquitos. I HATE mosquitos (yes I’m sure everyone does)! And I was wearing shorts, yes that really doesn’t help, but I did so because I was supposed to arrange a football match between the students and the teachers, but that was postponed to Day 3 (and yes I love Football) =) !

Day 3 (28/02/08):

This day we got-up early to watch the kids @ the assembly @ the old-school, which we missed the day before. We reached there while they were in their lines. It was really nice to see how organized they were and the best part is when they sang the last song, which was in Bengali, although I didn’t understand it, it was simply lovely. Then we had a long day ahead of us, we went to the new Emirates school, where we had to organize the new uniforms and shoes for the new students that were attending. It might sound simple, but it wasn’t, let’s just put it that way. We had a BIG number of students coming and we had to have everything organized as quickly as we could. The shoes were all mixed, all kinds of sizes, male & female. That’s what I started with and it took me a good amount of time. I’m sure we had over 200 boxes there. After I finished sorting the sizes, separating them in different piles and placing female & male shoes separately along the team, I went over to help Mariam with the uniforms. Then the students showed up; all with no measurements or sizes that were known to them, so it was our job to find them a suitable one. The kids came, 1st got their uniforms, then shoes, and then they had a small snack of 1 banana and 1 piece of bread. This activity all together took-up most of the day.

When we 1st arrived Maria kept telling me “Did you notice the difference between our new kids and the ones we’ve had for some time now?” Honestly, I didn’t completely realize it the 1st two days, but on this day, WOW, I completely saw the difference! Some of the kids were so scared, didn’t know what they were supposed to do, the way they sat, the way they ate, as if they haven’t had even a small meal for a week, they would eat sooo fast and I was telling them that it’s ok, they can take their time, there is no hurry, some couldn’t even look me in the eye, they looked so afraid and insecure. It was sad to see their state and how they were, but it was also really good to know what The Dhaka Project can do for them, how it can mold them, train them and educate them.

On this day we were mostly with Flo and she was great mashala, so thanks for all the help Flo =).
This was mainly day 3.

Day 4 (29/02/08)

We slept an extra hour or two on this day, just to get some good rest. This was our last day in Dhaka.

On this day you can say, it was our tour day, we went to the school, then lunch, then we headed to a nice big store (a bit far), where we could shop for some souvenirs/clothing.

Then, by the end of the day we headed back to the school, where to our surprise the kids had prepared a show for us. It was very nice, very cute and very very thoughtful. They did some dances and a fashion-show, which were all fantastic =). Then we took a lot of pictures with the kids, who kept telling us to promise that we will be back and so many of them wanted pictures with us. It was all lovely. The way the kids get attached to you, even in a short time, is just heartwarming.

And for dinner we all (the Dhaka Team) went for dinner @ a restaurant; interesting conversations, laughs and all.

The whole experience was simply great. The kids were beautiful. Maria has a great team working with her and that’s what makes the Dhaka Project successful. So THANK-YOU Maria, Flo, Jewel, Nayan and all the team (including our Rickshaw drivers) that made our experience such a wonderful one.

I hope and say that inshala we’ll see you soon =) and I promise to pray and do my best to aid The Dhaka Project in as many ways I can.

Lots of love…


Hard Life

Yes the Project is great, yes we are meeting amazing people and spend some unforgettable time with the children but only those ones who come here know what is the price. The life here is really hard. We work like dogs on the field then in the office. We have to follow up the work of the team as it's difficult for them to take initiative or just because they are not used to. Just an instant example. We are surrounded by dogs, really nice but wilde. A volunteer offered to vaccinate them to be sure they won't carry any sickness. We called the Vet who came but does not catch the dogs and our team was scared so for the 4 first dogs we had Maria and myself to run after them, catch them! Grrrr
I did not wake up a morning thinking I will just move to Bangladesh and be happy! It does not happen this way. Sometimes I wake up so tired that I don't know how I will be able to handle my day. Some days I just want to cry because emotionaly what we are facing is so hard, some days I just want to fire all the team because they don't go fast enough and sometimes like last week, I am ready to pack everything because this kind of comitment is not easy to keep. Our materialistic world is developping our ego, pampering him, filling him. Here, you just have to through your ego to the garbage bin and trust me, it does not happen in one day...
Yesterday night for example, we had a bad storm and at 3am I could not sleep anymore. First quite scared as it was violent but then I realised I was confortably in my bed, in a safe and dry place. What about our families in the Bamboo houses, what about the families living next to the ponds ?.....
At 4am Maria knocked to my door as she could not sleep either offering me to go and check if the near by families were ok. We left the building with our electric lamp. When we arrived there everybody was sleeping and no damage. Thanks god!
Three days ago, I received a call from Maria, she told me she was feeling very sick. I took a rickshaw and went to the teacher's house where she was staying. I arrived there and she was laying in the bed with a big feaver and told me she had a big pain in the throat. Honnestly? I panicked for 5 minutes... A european lady sick in a very poor area of Dhaka especially after having spent some time in the local hospital..... After couple of phone calls I came down and the doctor arrived. He gave her what we call in french a "horse treatment" (very strong ;-)). I prepared the magic potion given by my doctor in Dubai, fresh ginger boiled + honey + lemon. After 2 hours she was already a little bit better so I left. She has been very weak and sick for the next 3 days but she is ok today

04:50 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (1)


UAE Ambassador

Two days ago amazing people gave us the honor to visit the project.


The UAE Ambassador, Emirates Country manager and Dhaka Airport Manager. After a project visit by Maria, a warm welcome from the children, the visitors came to EK College where a students show was prepared for them.

Just before leaving, the Ambassador announced he was sending today a truck full of food. The Airport Manager bought 170 kg of rice. And Mister Hanif from Emirates? He is a constant support for the project. Can you imagine he spent his entire "birth day" 2 years ago at the hospital with Maria, saving the life of Shamota...

Shomota came back from abroad where she has been mistreated..... Maria and Anif took care of her helping to give her back a basic sense of dignity!

The same Shamota couple of months later. Now she is happily married and has a baby ;-)
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for your warm support.

M & F

07:15 Posted in Visitors | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Uniforms

Today was the first day of the morning assembly with the new uniforms sponsored by Emirates Foundation.
The children were so happy! They rarely get new clothes....
It has been quite a "marathon" to get everything done properly.
The trousers arrived with single stiches and no elastics so we had to send them back. The size were not appropriate, They were the wrong T-Shirts, wrong sweaters (thanks god winter is gone!)...
It is so hard to get acceptable quality here! We spend a lot of time explaining what is an acceptable quality and what is not! What a waste of energy, what a lesson of patience......




06:25 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bader feedback Day 3

This is the 3rd day … I guess in this day I was really shocked and okey I know that maria and flo said that the kids in the school are in a better shape which I didn’t kinda get it or realized it because we are soo used to kids having more meat in their bodies … but in the 3rd day when we went to the school at 8:30 in the morning to arrange the uniforms for the kids and to arrange the shoes and dresses.. it was soo much work but it was worth it after seeing the smiles on the kids… after arranging everything and the kids started to come to give each kid a uniform and shoes according to their size.. Me , anis , Miriam and Florence and the staff. were their from the early morning arranging everything.


Then I realized that oh my god! These kids are really skinny and starving (the new comers to school) they were soo skinny and starving and so frightened .. the sizes of the uniforms were 16,18,20,22,24 size 16 is like a a combination of two tissue boxes and to some kids that was to big for them !!! That shocked me … away from that … after given them the uniforms they have to take their meal which was two slices of toast and a banana … at this time what I have seen, I never experienced it In my life and it caught my eyes on tears.. These two girls caught my attention. one girl was eating the two slices of toast and the banana in the same time soo fast that she choked while eating .. and the other girl was hiding in the corner of the room and eating the slices of toast in small portions you can actually feel that she was soo frightened that the toast might go away and finish .. And she will never get it again … it really broke my heart seeing that. After that day I started to notice that the kids of The Dakha Project are much healthier than the kids that live in the street and it is actually making a difference to the lives and community that they live in..

Bader feedback day 2

The 2nd day was sooo long and sooo tiring … we haven’t slept in the previous day … we were supposed to wake up early in the morning at 7:30 to be in school at 8:30 for the school assembly to watch the students and the teacher and to document everything we just couldn’t we have asked for an extension of time to sleep till 10:30 … so when the time came to wake up we as in (me Bader, Miriam and anis) we felt soo refreshed … anyway.. we had headed to the market me and anis .. While Miriam went to the old and new school to see where to is the best wall to draw on … soo we went to the market to buy some paints.. but then we realized that we haven’t exchanged money … so we exchanged and went to the paint shop we bought some paint … but we couldn’t find all the colors, soo we make an order for the next day to be delivered to the new school .. before going to school we were starving , so we went to the nursery school to have lunch over their … the food is amazing .. you cant doubt that and the best thing after lunch you have the tea and milk!i still dream of it !! ehehey :P I went to the school and we all thought of making something that might influence the kids for their future.. What a better idea than all the kids putting their hand as symbol for who they are and imagine every day when going to class they see their hand prints and what they want to be..


But is really funny and I noticed that almost all of the students want to be either doctors or a pilot … I guess that was influenced by Maria … the entire process of taking kids and making them align behind each other and to choose the paint color they which to choose and what they want to become, took the entire day.. but after finishing the walls of the school … it looked really good!! And I was soo proud of it.. every body hand put their hand print on the wall including the staff and students and every body put what they want to be in the future. Seriouly the feeling u get after working with such amazing and talent kids its amazing!!!! hope everybody goes over their and try it.


A new album

Have a look on the right side of the main menu to our new album. That's couple of pix from the stay or our wonderful Dubai volunteers, Mariam, Anas and Bader. Thank you guys for the amazing time you gave to the kids and the team.


Feed back from Bader

Hi! my name is Bader al Ayoubi , I am a Kuwaiti volunteer who came from Dubai, I have arrived on Feb 25 , since the very first step i reached to the Dhaka airport, maria was in the airport expecting us, as soon as we reached the to the guest house which maria kindly accepted us to live in .. we were out in the streets and slums. we have seen the entire history how the Dhaka project started from two small rooms and into something exceptional. Back from going out into the streets and slums maria had taken us to places that you can never think of. Poor people living in the streets and slums having nothing to live in except a towel and hardly anything to eat. maria had showed us how people used to live before they were adopted by the Dhaka project,.. it's like a before and after image but in real life (which is scary and really touches your heart). There are no words to describe how maria had changed and influenced so many homeless children and even older people .. there is so many parts of the project i don't know where to start ... from cleaning the streets ... teaching people to take care of themselves .. proper clothing... to the very simplest hygiene cleaning like brushing there teeth ... away from cleaning.. children are being thought manners to be respectful to others ... and to become something important in their lives and to have dreams and goals ... being thought in school to learn English giving the students the ability to become something important in their lives. what i have experienced in one day can not be written down .. their is no words that describes it.. you have to come and live that to know what am talking about ... the love that maria and the Dhaka project given to people and care and the way people are being changed ...its amazing ... and i am defiantly coming back again .. and again and again ... this is only my first day in the dakha project can you imagine that... i will be writting shortly about my second day ..


Let's do it together

The Emirates Arline Foundation School we have talking about for a while is welcoming 450 children who were in the local schools sponsored by Emirates Foundation. After one year of constant chasing and struggling to have those schools to provide a minimum of proper education, discipline and values to the children, we gave up and deciding to build our proper school and at the same time to make them follow top notch education.

The children as we have mentioned previously just started couple of days ago their new education program in the brand new Emirates Arline Foundation School College.
But those 450 kids have families who need our help right now. As per the recent post you can see their extreme poverty they live in.
Since our aim is to break the cycle of poverty, not only of the children but also their families and the entire community. There is no point to teach them about hygiene, grooming, good manners and discipline if when they go back home, they are back to square 1!
We found out that the kids themselves are a great asset in this mission as they are messengers at home with what they learn at achool. Teaching them to eat in a clean canteen is encouraging them to push the family to do the same at home. We provide them tooth brushes and tooth paste and we realise now that the entire family is being following the student new good habits ;-).

So our job and our mission is to encourage this behavior but how do you want it to happen in non human basic conditions as describe previously. We need your help to provide them THE DECENT MINIMUM meaning 4 walls, one cement floor and a roof! THAT's ALL!

What we want to do it to give them a brick house with cement floor and proper roof. The house is only one room but it's ok as soon as it's strong and safe as it prevents diseases such as scabies .


With 3000 Dirhams (833 $ - 600 Euros - ) you provide for a full family a human and decent house!

- Brick walls,
- Cement floor
- Proper roof
- Basic furniture and accessories as beds, mosquito net, matress, bed sheets, blankets, pillows, electric rechargeable lamp, kitchen shelve, fan, cooking dishes and crockery


That's what we need, That's what they need!

06:15 Posted in HELP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Help us to give them the basic living condition

If we follow the same topic of safety for example to avoid ladies or men to get burnt as Chiqa, we need to talok about the families living conditions.


I am not even talking about the adults but the full family including our children. It seems that there is more and more cases of scabies in the village but you see where they live and how they live, you are not surprised. One family and especially the baby gets every 2 months scabies even after treatment. OF COURSE! If the hygiene rules are not followed, if the full house is not desinfected and the full family treated, scabies comes back.

Yesterday, we have decided to take action regarding this family with the sick baby. Before starting, we sent the team buying new beds, matress and mosquito nets. Then, 5 of us went there as a commando with gloves, water drums and bleach. We took all the furniture out of the house.... put all the dishes and everything that could be washed in big drums full of water and bleach. All the rest has been burnt! No other choice.
Just removing the furniture and all the dirt awaked hundreds of huuuuge cockroaches and red ants... Yeurkkk!

05:10 Posted in HELP | Permalink | Comments (0)

News from Chika

Yesterday evening, the hospital called us saying that Chika's condition was really bad and that they did not want to take responsability to treat her. By the way that's the same people who told us the same morning that she was not in pain because she had no facial expression!!!!
Maria started to call different doctors and nurses volunteers in order to get advice. She needed to be transfered to a special unit. Finally we found one with a great website telling us it was the ultra modern burnt unit of Dhaka. I was so happy as I could imagine her beeing treated in the best conditions... (western twist of mind!)
We managed to get an ambulance and we went there with Maria and the boys, always with us as a fantastic support.


When we arrived at the hospital, I went through the normal hospital before get to the special unit. I thought I will collapse looking through the doors in the rooms. Common rooms with maybe 12 beds + patients on the floor. Family eating in the middle, dirty cloth and other things I don't want to discribe. I started to be nauseus.

Finally we reached the unit. Oh my god, old curtains dirty covering the windows to hide plastic covered beds with patients waiting in pain. So many people get burnt. In a period of time of 3 hours we saw 5 people burnt and all of them because of domestic accidents. Cooking with wood, mosquito coil set on fire a mosquito net (the 25 years old boy was totally burnt even his face - no more left ear).

Chika like many other ladies, one was just there next to her, are cooking bended down in front of a small fire place feeded with wood on the floor. He cloth got on fire but by the time she realised it, it was too late. She could not control or stop it.
We spent 3 hours there facing first the bureaucracy giving us lectures, going particularly slowly and telling us no beds were available. We have to admit that this hospital has 50 beds available for 250 patients. Maria decided to go to check by herself the space available. We went up and honnestly I had to stop after the 2nd floor as I was getting sick. I don't know how she can do it, I guess I need more "Maria's training".....
People and kids in corridors, on the floor, no matress, don't even talk about hygiene.... Maria found a bed and we went back downstairs to check Chiqa. Couple discussions later she was admitted in the treatment room.

That's the best unit of the country but it's a self service hospital meaning that the doctor gives you prescription even for the saline transfusion and the gloves and you need to go yourself to the pharmacy which is an ugly shop outside of the hospital in a dark and dirty alley.....
With all our medic, we came back and then they started to treat her. I had to come out of the room but Maria stayed there and appeared couple of minutes later with an empty pot of cream and gloves on telling me she needed more..... Maria had to show them how to put the cream as they were really hurting her.
You have to imagine that they use cotton to clean to remove the dead skin so it was getting stuck. But they have nothing else. Finally she got ready and then we heard that the bed we thought available was on the children's ward so we could not get it. We had to go to buy floor mat for her and her sister then blanckets and pillows. Maria found a small corner in a corridor and set up a "bed" for Chika...
One of the boy in the patient room dowstairs was really in pain but if you don't have money, you don't have medication.... So we bought pain killers for him and then full treatment as it is just not human to see someone suffering so much!!!

We left after midnight with a strange feeling. It's honnestly a horrible environnment if we think in our "spoiled developped medical way" but the doctors really do miracles with what they have.
This morning Massud went there. Chiqa was sleeping wich is a very good news meaning that she is not in pain. Her parents will come to visit her today. No news of the husband. It seems he does not really care and is sitting at home pissed off because she cannot bring income for a while... Her 6 weeks baby with scabies is being treated now and recovering slowly!

04:20 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kids discovering hot shower!

A tradition here is to have couple of times a week some kids staying with us in the guest house. They watch a cartoon, play games, put some music. 2 days ago the kids just discovered the luxury of hot shower! A fantastic opportunity to enjoy a fun moment but also to have them cleaned and hair washed with anti lice shampoo ;-)


01:55 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (0)


What would you do

These 2 and a half years have been really hard to find sponsors TO HELP the adults. Most common answer is that they don't need help, they schould help themselves , they are lazy, only children deserve support!
Here is what we found at our door this morning....


What would you do if you were confronted to this situation?

For 3 days this 20 year old lady been turned down by the local hospitals as she could not afford treatment. Her one month and half baby has got scabies and has been declined, deprived of treatment ....

She is 2nd degree burnt from chest to feet because of oil. Only because of her appaling living conditions.....
We spent 3 hours in a private hospital begging for the doctors to react and provide medical care ..


They claimed there was no need to rush into treating her that she was not in pain because she had NO FACIAL EXPRESSION OF PAIN........ We had to threaten to call the police if they wouldnt react ...
How many people in her condition are daily been turned down and they don't know about our existence........


Flo & Maria

08:30 Posted in HELP | Permalink | Comments (0)


Staff Party and Award Ceremony

The day following our visitors ceremony, we decided to have a staff party and award ceremony for the TDP staff. they asked the students to do the show again.
We prepared special certificates for each memeber of the team and Trophies.
One by one, maria called the team members saying a spcial and personal comments of each one.
very intense moment for all of us!


Mister Azad could not contain his emotion

jewel and Nayan won respectively the Heart Giving award and the Long lasting award ;-)

A global award for the teachers

Munna, our office manager receiving the Honnesty Award ;-))

06:40 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (0)


We have hired a welfare manager who is in charge of meeting all the families and check their status, their income, their living conditions and urgent needs.
Arif came the next morning with a full report showing 20 families urgently in need. We went through each case to see what we could do and what they could do themselves in order to improve their lives. It’s really difficult sometimes as they all want to work for the project. But it’s a no way. We cannot and don’t want to be the source of employment as it’s not going to develop the sustainability. Arif called all the ladies in need for a meeting. They were asking us to admit their babies in the nursery. We said ok as soon as they could prove they have found a job. We have a lot of garments factories in our area so they can work there. But they don’t want because it’s hard work. Maria decided to go to the garments with the ladies ready to work but when we arrived there only 2 out of 10 followed us.
Our vocation is not to make them dependant on us. It’s not helping them at all. We help the most needed ones, the ones who have health problems, the widows, the single mothers with many kids. But those in good health have to go to work out of the project. Our mission is to put the structure in place to help them to do it. The nursery for example. We can even extend the hours of the nursery with special shifts for those who work late but they need to understand the value of working.
We had in the group a very difficult case of this lady who has a physically and mentaly handicaped son about 10 years old. Because of his condition the mother cannot work as she needs to stay with him all the time. She is exhausted and in bad shape. Her sister is the only source of income for the family.
We have decided to help her in the sense to provide her the rent of her house and also a proper bed, mattress and mosquito net. We are also looking for a wheel chair for her son as she is exhausting herself carrying him all the time.
They spent some time with us in the office and we took him in a classroom with boys of his age and he started playing with them. We believe the best way for him to grow his mental status and social abilities is to be with other kids. So we have decided to try something. He will spend three times a week a full morning in the kindergarten. It will be very good for him but also for the other kids to develop support and compassion. The mother will then be able to rest a little bit but also to develop her skills in cooking as she is a very good one. Maria said that she could even prepare some food and sell it outside the school or even to the teachers ;-). Let see how it goes!


06:33 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Big time for the project

We were expecting the visit of big potential sponsors at least 48 hours after the opening of the school. But after our “cleaning session”, Maria receieved a message announcing that they will come next morning at 10am. Oh my god! But no panick! We will do it. The biggest challenge will be the keep the school clean while welcoming the 450 kids quiet with a proper behavior but also get the special show prepared for them ready!
Next morning, everyone thrilled by an amazing amount of adrenaline took care of his part of the job. Everybody was ready when the visitor told us there were a misunderstanding and they will come only in the afternoon! WHAT A CHALLENGE.
We had to send the kids back home and call them back at 3pm. But keeping them in the school with proper behavior has been the biggest challenge. We don’t even talk about cleaning the bathroom 30 times as they don’t even know how to use them properly!
And the weather started to be really bad with heavy rain and wind. Anyway, nothing can stop us so ;-)))
5pm they arrived and Maria started the visit of the project by the 2 rooms were the project started, then the nursery and pre school. We took their car as it was raining like mad and trying to get in the small path where the new school is, the car got stuck in a drain. Big adventure for those guys but they are used to it as both of them have been working in the humanitarian industry for years.
We ended to the school by walk. Maria introduced them to the team, then showed them the classroom with the new kids. Finally we reached the roof top where the show was taking place.
This show has been prepared by volunteers students from the best school in Bangladesh. They have trained the kids, done the costumes etc…


Difficult to describe as beyond the beauty of the songs, dance, make up, acting, there were this beauty of the pride of the kids. You could see in their eyes joy and happiness! The show started with the traditional prayer then dancing acts mixing tradition on contemporary music from well know Bangladesh singers.

They prepared a very modern act showing that any one dream can go through if you believe in it,

very intense moment followed by a choral singing “Imagine all the people” and a famous Bengla song.

All the assembly was standing up even our guest screaming their enthusiasm.

The last act was a fashion show showing different aspect of Bangladesh and their costumes from the rural people to the young students, the religious one and the established couple! Just EXTATIC



We left the school while the kids and team were partying to have a meeting with our visitors in their hotel in order to discuss the next step. We reached the Westin with our feet full of mud and totally rinsed by the heavy rain but it did not matter.
2 hours of interesting and animated discussions in order to see how we could collaborate together keeping the spirit of the Dhaka Project but putting together some “institutionalization” to be able to duplicate our way of doing things in other parts of the country and why not abroad!
We came back home totally exhausted but the heart full of joy and pride for the team and the children. Proud also that big organizations are looking at us as “diamonds” as they said! Ok they add that we will need to polish the diamond and we agree, we are still a diamond ;-)

06:05 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (1)

Getting ready

So many days without writing, we know it’s a shame for you who are following us but we have been caught by so many things.
The major one has been the opening of the new school. It happened 2 days ago. 450 new kids to admit, put them by class with a new teacher. It seems easy in any organized environment but here, it is not. Some of them come from the local schools and some of them have never been to school at all. We have decided to follow the Cambridge curriculum but in order to do it, we need to level the children first. So, for the next 4 months, all the kids will follow a fast track learning process in order to be ready in July to join the normal school calendar. Fast Track means they will have special classes where the teachers will be able to evaluate their individual abilities, they will also learn English. Then, per age and level, they will be assigned to the class accordingly.
If you could see the difference between the kids who are already in our project and the new ones, it will amaze you. The new ones are not groomed, are wild without any discipline or proper behavior. We know it’s a hard time for the new teachers but when we tell them that the TDP students who are so polished now were even worse than those ones, they keep faith.

We have an amazing team of dedicated people. The majority of them come from very good schools. It’s a challenge for them to come and teach in this part of the city. That’s why also it’s so hard to find people.
Getting good people is not the only objective as it is not enough to work with us. They need to understand the mission and the vision of the Project and sometimes it’s even harder for Bangladeshi people. Our objective is to raise the people from the slums to show them to way to get a better life. But they have always been treated as untouchables and given the most difficult and less rewarded jobs, when they get one. Inside our own organization we are training the ladies more educated to treat properly the ladies from the slums. It’s hard sometimes because in their culture, as soon as they can, they get a servant who is doing the dirty work. We had a big time in the nursery as the educated ladies did not want to change the diapers of the babies and were asking the slum ones to do it. But I think the team has found the best way to change it. Firoz and Shimul, both very educated men went there to talk to them and finally took the babies and changed the diapers themselves. What a shock for the ladies. A man doing that?
This example reinforces the fact that doing things with them will help to change the mentality. Maria and I are always treated like if we should not do any dirty job. No way! That’s not how we have been raised and that’s definitely not the spirit of the project.

The biggest example was 2 days ago when we needed to have the new school ready for opening and also the visit of potential sponsors. They announced their visit 24 hours earlier so we needed to put and emergency plan together ;-). Maria is really excellent in that. She called all the team members from the teachers to the nursery staff including the administration team to the new school.


Then she divided the team per floor and with loud dancing music everybody started to swipe, wash, clean the windows, put the chairs and teacher desk per class etc. How amazing! I think we have learned about the team members in 3 hours more than in 3 weeks. No need here to send people to motivational seminars and team building. We have done it, all in one!

Some ladies after 1 hour were sitting telling me that the broom was hurting their hands. Some were swiping the floor like if it was the most disgusting thing they have been doing in their lives. Some others started to dance together while washing the floors or laughing to watch the men doing it. Amazing time. Really!

A little apple pause before going back to the hard work ;-)

05:40 Posted in Daily Life | Permalink | Comments (0)


That's what we are fighting for

Bangladesh is a flat country except couple of mountains in the north. Because of the lack of mountains, the construction companies cannot extract rocks to make the cement. So they make bricks with mud, dry them, then break them is small pieces. Next to our new school this afternoon I could hear the sound of couple of hammers breaking those bricks.


But that's women and children who are most of the time doing this hard job. That's what we are fighting at TDP. To give a childhood to those kids, to give them the right to go to school and play with their friends.
Yes TDP is doing a great job but there is still so much to do and we cannot fight the cycle of poverty without you!

14:20 Posted in Dhaka By FLO | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thank You

Thank you so much to THE MORE CAFE IN DUBAI for your donation and please accept this gift from some of the children of TDP ;-)


Also a bigggggg thank you at Turya to have bravely run her first 10 kms during the Dubai Marathon and collected some donation for us.

13:25 Posted in Donation | Permalink | Comments (0)

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