Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Shikha, is a 24 years old young lady, who has got burned (3rd degree burns), is still lying on a bed in Dhaka Medical College Burn Unit, Bangladesh, being fully burnt from her chest to her legs.

At first she had been admitted in a private clinic (Aichi Hospital) on 23-02-2008 in the morning but on the same day at night they referred her to Dhaka Medical College, Burn Unit.

Dr. Jeremy who is a professor in American University of Sharjah and his 13 students, who have volunteered in Dhaka, donated her 42,000 Taka (~2280 AED, ~622 USD, ~395 EUR) on 18-03-2008 and later, Bruce, another volunteer, who works for Emirates Airline's Laboratory, donated 40,000 Taka (~2175 AED, ~590 USD, ~380 EUR) on 15-04-2008.
So the total donation that we have been given for Shikha's treatment is 82,0000 Taka (~4,463 AED, ~1,214 USD, 775 EUR) and we have already spent 65,000 Taka.

She got her first skin graffing operation for one side of her body from chest to leg on 02-04-2008. And the next date of skin graffing operation for other side is 04-05-2008.

She is needing (O+) blood.

At first Maria donated her blood. Then Sadek and Mozammel who are students of Dhaka University donated their blood. After that we had to buy blood from BADHAN and QUANTUM - two blood giving agencies in Bangladesh.

In total we collected 7 pounds of blood.
Now, we need more 4 pounds of blood.

Her per day cost for medicine, fruit and high protein are 3,000 Taka. But sometimes it increases when the doctor gives her a new prescription, which recently has happened approximately every 3 days.

At first Badar, a volunteer from Dubai, paid for her daughter's meals, but since then we have been buying meals for her daughter thanks to the donations from Jeremy and Bruce.

When any volunteer comes he or she visits her but Masud, project manager of The Dhaka Project visits her regularly.

She has been staying in the hospital for the last two months and she is required to stay there for at least one more month.

A heartfelt and grateful thank you to all who have helped !

Sunday, April 27, 2008


We had another vaccination day at The Dhaka Project, today, 27th April 2008.

Today we have vaccinated a total of 230 children for Hepatitis-B (2nd Dose)

Scrolling down you can see a few pics of the event...

One more step to protect these unprivileged slums dwellers children, only possible thanks to all who support us.

Thanks to your help !


The Dhaka Project long time volunteer, Sharon, has collected a new donation, an important donation of books, shoes and a box of abacuses to our schools, offered by

Collecting this donation to the drop-off point was only one more of her tasks this year, in the continued helping history not only from Sharon but from all 'De Sousa Family' for the past three years, ( ... never forgetting the unforgetable Lucky Stars ... ), struggling to help the Project !

Sharon has also been one of the heroins who took part in the 10 km Dubai Marathon 2008 on behalf of The Dhaka Project, so one more athlete pouring her sweat on the track to find more ways to help the children under our care... added to the other many ways her family has been (and permanently is) involved in.

We, once again, are extremely grateful to Sharon for all the hard work done on behalf of our kids and express her our gratitude for all she has done along.
And also a big thank you to Jebel Ali Primary School for reminding of us and having turned up with such great generosity.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


Time to show as The Dhaka Project programme contributes to get children more aware about the environment.

Last Thursday 24th April, we had one more day dedicated to cleaning in the quarter of Gawair, where children take actively part gathering up all the trash around and finnally burn most of it.

We call it " Let's clean Bangladesh ! "

Teachers and students take part in this cleaning operation!

Our School Principal, Md. Azad, telling students how to do it...

The main purpose of this programme is to keep every place clean like home.

Because in a dirty environment nothing goes well.

So our students learn about the good behaviour of keeping their home clean and the Bangladesh also.

( According to a survey Dhaka is the second dirty city all over the world).


Malou is a girl, an angel, and she is only four years old.

A few days before she celebrated her fourth birthday, as it can be seen by scrooling down this page... to 22nd April...

And on that day, with the precious help of her mummy, Uschi, :-) she donated all her clothes to our kids at The Dhaka Project, not talking again about the monetary donation.

These are the photos taken after these clothes have arrived in Dhaka, and delivered to the nurseries to be worn by whom they better fit on..., the small kids.

And here they are comfortably and proudly dressing them and there aren't needed any more words to demonstrate how grateful and glad they feel for having friends like Malou and her family.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Diary of a volunteer..

I arrived in Dhaka feeling somewhat apprehensive but looking forward to the challenge ahead. I had left Dubai with personal problems of my own and needed to do something to put it all in perspective. What better way I thought then to help others in more strife than myself.
Little did I know how much it would change me completely.

I was met at the airport by Maria and her team who quickly came forward and took my luggage amid smiles and introductions. My hands were quickly grasped by small grubby hands belonging to those of a few of The Dhaka Project kids and off we went to grab a quick bite to eat before making our way to the guest house. This was too be my accommodation over the next week. It was not at all what I had expected. I had a small sized apartment to myself consisting of 3 bedrooms, (mine with a bathroom attached) and a kitchen. There was a shower, clean sheets, and a little gas stove to make myself tea and even air conditioning in the bedroom.
Maria showed me where her rooms were upstairs as well as the extra guest rooms available on the floor above that.
That night the kids decided to stay by me so I was treated to them teaching me a few Bengali words and then singing away a selection of their favourite Bengali songs. Definitely something to lift the spirits.

The next day Jewel, the volunteer manager came to pick me up from my guest house where we made our way to The Dhaka Project School and offices.
From far away, the building appears rundown and shabby but once you get closer you see the many coloured handprints of children on the walls outside with descriptions of what they want to be when they grow up.
Inside I met all the office staff who were warm and friendly and was then given a complete tour of the premises.
I thought to myself its truly amazing what they have achieved here in such a short space of time but the best was yet to come.
There were sewing and garment making classes for the adults (parents of the children who went to school) as well as a beauty parlour and hairdresser.
A computer class was set up for the kids that taught them basic computer skills as well as a library full of used books. On site they also had a small doctors office and dental clinic for the children and families and I met the doctor who only had a few seconds to stop and say hi as there was already a queue of people waiting to see him.

Before we left I ordered a few Fatua (long sleeved tunic tops) from the sewing department to wear whilst I was here and hopefully blend in a bit more with the locals.
The rest of the day I visited the nursery and primary schools and then the new EK school which was just finished a few months ago.
Wow!!! This place is great. What was originally just a shell of concrete walls and little else has now been transformed into 3 levels of classrooms with the 4th floor left wide open to be used for school assemblies, drama shows etc..
I made my way back to the office with Jewel for a bit before finally heading home to cook dinner, shower and crash out for the night.

Over the next few days I found myself immersed in what is essentially the 'true Dhaka'. First stop the Korail slums where I encountered such devastating poverty it broke my heart. Children looking after children while parents try to find work. Limited rations of rice to eat and makeshift huts covered in rags, where 1 dirt floor room houses a whole family. The children however were wonderful and came running up for hugs and were more than happy to let me snap a few photos of them.

Next up was the Dhaka Medical centre (if thats what you can call it) where I found the conditions absolutely appalling! I went specifically to visit one of the lady's in the burns unit who had been sent there by the Dhaka project. She was 24 years old with 3rd degree burns from the waist down caused by a cooking fire. How helpless I felt when staring at this sad young lady and the many other victims around her. No medicine, blankets or a doctor to be seen. I was told that food is provided by the visiting family members as well as medication but only if you could afford to pay for it which many of course couldn't. Most were covered in dirty bandages and some I found sleeping in the hallways waiting for available beds.

I stayed for a bit but in truth it was so hard to handle after seeing one young lady with half her face burnt off, I quickly made a hasty retreat. How much we take for granted I thought. Outside whilst the traffic buzzed by and we sat in the tuk tuk on our way back to the project, I was unable to speak and sat sad in silence wondering at the state of such things..

After a quick break at my guest house I wandered back to the offices with a determination to do whatever I could to help in the short time I was there. I met Maria who was working away and sat down to discuss the jobs I could take on when she had to leave the next day. This lady never rests and is always looking for new ways to help the children, the families and new ideas to keep the staff motivated, happy and fulfilled. We sat at her place well into the night discussing what we could do and how to do it and I was constantly in awe of her dedication and commitment to the cause.

The next day Jewel and I set out to the Westin Hotel to lobby for more storage space and they were only too happy to oblige. After, we made our way to the embassies to get more volunteer support and donations but unfortunately they were all closed so after a quick bite to eat we went back to the offices and I got stuck into work.

My time to leave came too quickly when I had so much I still needed to do. It made me realise the massive task Maria and her team have undertaken and continue to do every day.
Before school was about to leave for the day, the principal Mr Azad called me quickly as he needed me for something. I went down the stairs to be greeted to by at least 50 smiling faces holding a big hand coloured poster saying 'Goodbye Dear Rae'. They all started singing a Bengali song and while I listened to them, my eyes filled with tears at the warmth and love they had shown me whilst I was there.

The Dhaka Project is a resounding success and to be able to experience just a small part of it was truly something I will cherish forever.

But there is still so much to do, so many families to help and little lives to be saved and without the help of volunteers and donations then many will go unfed, unclothed and uneducated.

If reading this stirs just a small part of you, then reach out and lend a hand because even the smallest thing can make such a big difference!

A big thank you to the great team at the Dhaka Project who let me into their lives and treated me with such warm hospitality. You guys are doing an amazing job and I look forward to returning very soon!


On 23rd April 2008 there was a meeting with parents (200 parents) of the students in our schools at The Dhaka Project. MORE...
Firoz, the Education Director talking to parents....

Thursday, April 24, 2008


 An IT Team at EGIT (Emirates Group IT) have read about us ( and  all the work that our team at Dhaka has been doing along these almost three years ) in Safar Magazine and decided to contribute to our project helping us on our huge burden.

The announcement has reached us through Cham kawshal, Snr. Engineer at EGIT, who reported they would like to donate one Computer, feeling sure they are handing this item for a good cause.

We wish to express our gratitude for their words of credit and for this precious donation.

Thank you to Cham Kawshal and his Team!!


The Dhaka Project has recently set-up a new Computer Training Center.

You are invited to click here and see more details.

All the expenses have been sponsored by Emirates Airline Foundation,
to whom The Dhaka Project is in deep gratitude!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Last March we have been offered an essential set of books for the students in our schools.

Marinda van Niekerk is who has struggled to make them available to us.

It's a collection of English and Maths books yielded by Emirates International School.

For her hard persistence, on working to help us and our children in reaching our goals, we say a big:

THANK YOU Marinda!!!


A nice surprise has unexpectedly  turned up, with Rebecca Garbenis announcing us that The Dhaka Project has been graciously named to benefit from a phenomenal  donation as  agreed at the Parents and Teachers Association, as is shown in the follwing text she has sent us:

".... Everyone on the PTA agreed that the Dhaka Project was an excellent organisation and were very happy to support it. ... Our PTA has agreed to fund two activities for the Dhaka Project:

1) 30,000 taka has been spent on reading books, mostly in Bangla, but some in English, across age and ability ranges, for your school. We would like some of our students to come with us to the Dhaka project to donate these, so if I could liase with you about a good time and date please.

2) The PTA also decided that they want to sponsor a meal a day for the 600 school children. Therefore, based on the current rice price, we will donate 150,000 taka for food over the year, ..."

A tremendous thank you to Rebecca Garbenis and all on the PTA for this outstanding help that will make bellies much happier for the year ahead in Gawair!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Dear all friends,

Maria is an angel GOD has sent to this part of the world. I have never been able to stop my tears when I visit this place which I do quite occasionally.

I also made a [point to let my children visit the project and realise what GOD has gifted them so that they value and also realise that these children are deprived of the basics and it is our duty to bring the smile back to their faces.

People come and give money or food and go back but apart from these things the children need our company, they need people to spend time with them. Lately one Emirati Couple visited Dhaka Project and stayed for 3 days and they realised how blessed we are living in Dubai and yet complaining.

Maria has put her heart and soul in this work and people can write a book on her but all I want is that our senior managers to take time out and visit this place and that is the time you will feel the lump in your throat and you would say is this possible what Maria is doing or what she has done over these last 3 years.

I have seen those first 25 to 30 children she picked up from the streets of Dhaka and the journey today is that she now has 700 children to take care of.

Seeing is believing.

(Terry I still remember the day when I called you and requested you to help Maria with her day off as she and myself were looking after SHOMOTA who was treated very badly in UAE and was put on the flight back home.
May God bless you for the assistance, today Shomota is a staff in Dhaka Project smiling with a new life and the Gods gift of a cute child.)

God bless MARIA.

Best Regards,

Hanif Zakaria
Manager Bangladesh


Fighting poverty sometimes shows us so many beautiful and rewarding gestures!!! So rewarding that we feel relieved from all the rest!
One of these gestures has arrived from Malou, a little girl of only 4, just celebrating today, her birthday!!!
Happpppyyyy birthday to Malou!
And congratulations to her mummy, Uschi, for the day and for the beautiful human being she is by being so sensible and equally for having a wonderful daughter like Malou, so curious to know about the world's reality!
And, more interesting yet, Malou wishes to meet Maria and hand her donation over directly in her hands...
But what donation from a 4 year old girl are we talking about?
Well, Uschi, Malou's mother, presented The Dhaka Project to her children and after that presentation they decided to write a letter to all their friends who will attend Malou's birthday party, suggesting them to put in some money, just a little donation, in a pot they will have installed at home, on behalf of The Dhaka Project or other organization looking after poor children they would like to donate to, instead of giving her birthday presents, not worrying about not having the pleasure of unwrapping them ...!!!
And not only! Days before, Uschi Irani had got in touch to hand over a lot of used clothes in good condition at the drop-off point.
We feel gratefully touched by this generosity from a whole family.
Thank you Uschi, Malou, all family and guests, on behalf of kids of Dhaka under our care, and we wish you all a beautiful birthday party... AND SO THEY WISH as you can see in the picture above!!!

P.S. - And according to last hour information Malou raised 3290 AED on this day... impressing!!! What a precious help! THANK YOU MALOU !


In a short post published in January we showed Tanvir Shah in action running in Dubai Marathon 2008.

He declared that he had to run on behalf of charities... and on this day (18th January) he has run on behalf of kids from the slums of Dhaka now under the care of the Project.

And recently he handed over the results of his hard work... 4,215 sweating dirhams!

Thank you Tanvir for also being one of the heroes in this run, the run on behalf of The Dhaka Project.


Our kids and their families in The Dhaka Project  have been graciously provided with great help twice this year come from the the same donator.
Trish Murphy, who we are talking about, has done a beautiful donation for the second time this year... as a reply to life worsening in Dhaka, that will be a great help to us along with other
precious donations so we can go a little above the red line.
It's almost 10,000 dirhams both times!
We would like to express a grateful THANK YOU to Trish for her kind gestures.

Monday, April 21, 2008


An art competition was held among the students, and they participated enthusiastically and came up with brilliant pictures.

Students showing their art work

The best three art works were awarded prizes. One of the volunteers, Bruce who works for Emirates Airlines distributed the awards.

Bruce handing out the prizes for the winners.

Adult development program- the staff are being trained.

Firoz, the Education Director talking to the staff in the adult development program.

The Parents meeting are held on a regular basis so that the teachers and the parents can work together for educating the children. The parents are counseled and taught to promote awareness.

Parents in the parents meeting.

Different types of social problems like early marriage, low regard for women, child labor are brought in the parents meeting. Students performed different types of cultural programs to educate illiterate parents.

Students staging a drama to promote awareness against early marriage.

Celebrating Bangla New Year (Nabo borsho, as called in Bangla) is a gala festival for Bangladeshi people. A spectacular fare was arranged where students and put up an excellent cultural show. Parents were invited to see what their children have learnt. At the end of the program we saw proud parents were bragging to each other how brilliant their children were doing.

A student wearing the traditional dress (sari) for celebrating Bangla New Year.

Kids eagerly watching the cultural show and clapping happily

Girls wearing yellow traditional dress as a symbol of the beginning of Bangla New Year

Students singing to celebrate New Year.

Teachers singing for the students.


Firstly, I must thank all the team members for taking care of me while I was visiting. I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome and genuine friendliness of all.
Getting through the visa section of customs was a breeze, as there were no foreigners lining up to get a visa. They also accepted 200dhs, as I didn't get a chance to get US$. I used a greeting person who happened to have a mobile phone, so he was able to call Jewel, who was waiting outside the airport for me. At least he could know straight away that I had landed and was on my way through the airport.
I was surprised at how close to the airport, the Project is. Not too far to travel at all. All buildings are within easy walking distance of each other. The other thing I found handy was the fact there is a HSBC bank and Standard Chartered, which means I could use my bank card at the ATM.
I wasn't expecting this in Dhaka!
The accommodation was more than adequate; clean, air-conditioned, spacious apartment with DVD-TV, kitchen, and all at a very reasonable price!
The standard and quality of staff at the project are quite outstanding.
I was impressed with also the outgoing personalities and commitment of the staff. Also, one of the main things that impressed me was the self-sacrifice that some have made to the project; and the joy they have experienced.
A sad event of my visit was to see an example of the poor conditions of the government hospitals. Here I visited a burn victim who is sponsored by the Dhaha Project.
I was able to visit the slums where the families were plucked and then saw where they now live with abundance of fresh water supplies, and upgraded amenities. I was able to visit the 4 buildings currently rented for schooling (nursery, pre-school, infants and Primary levels). I was
also lucky to be present at a New year celebration full of life, music, and colour presentations at the school. This was so much fun. It was so difficult to imagine these people were actually previously living in the slums!
Each child gets sponsored for schooling, daily food, school uniforms, clothing donations, vaccinations, family accomodation relocations, dentistry, school clinic.
I spoke with the school doctor who runs the clinic during the day at the school, and then at 6pm does his own patients in his chambers until 10pm!!! He was able to give me a list of items they could use for the school clinic, and well within reach of the Emirates Clinic to possibly sponsor!?! (Who knows!)
One particular thing that haunted my mind is when I heard some of the children crying out Maria.... Maria!'. It seems when they saw me, they would be looking around, expecting and hoping their beloved Maria to be nearby. This speaks volumes of the impact this project has had on the lives of all involved. One of the most 'senior' staff said to me, 'She (Maria) is family, she is our sister'. I couldn't help but then realise that the much-loved founder of the Project had a very enourmous family...... 700+ lovely children!!!! I am in awe of the accomplishments of such a person, and the wonderful staff behind this amazing project.
I enjoyed every minute of my short weekend in Dhaka and hope to return very very soon.!
Much love and gratitude to alA

Bruce Rogerson


Yes! One more day dedicated to vaccinate a few hundreds of children!

Following the schedulled vaccination programme at The Dhaka Project as announced a few days ago, we had one more vaccination day, yesterday, 20th April 2008.

In this event we have vaccinated 427 students with Priorix (for Measles, Rubella and Mumps) .

Thanks to you, who have donated to help us, these children have their childhood back, towards a safer life for a more promising future.

We feel deep gratefullness for all your generosity.