Thursday, July 31, 2008


Well, I'm back in Australia and it's taken a little getting used to. I thought I'd slip straight back into Sydney life but I find myself making constant comparisons to what I've seen working for the Dhaka Project. The extreme poverty and conditions contrasted with the strength, courage and warmth of the Bangladeshi people is remarkable and will be my overwhelming memory of my time in Gawair. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn much about Bangladesh, their people and culture but I've been lucky enough to experience the day to day running of an overseas aid project. I came to Bangladesh with a very idealistic view of how such projects run, thinking they have their challenges but overall run smoothly and are well accepted by communities. After a month with the Dhaka Project it is obvious that they take a huge amount of hard work, constant direction and drive and probably quite a bit of time to become successful and be embraced by communities. I think the Dhaka Project team, with their youthful energy, will provide that drive and change the lives of many Dhaka children. I feel privileged to have worked with the team and the project and hope to be back sometime soon!

Despite ending up in hospital, having my purse stolen/misplaced and experiencing a very scary altercation with a bus driver, a cab driver and a rather large plastic bat, I loved my stay in Bangladesh and that is mostly thanks to the kids. Their energy, smiling faces and affection is heartwarming, especially considering their often awful backgrounds. The most enjoyable day for me was helping Faria to run the session on puberty for the school girls. Faria has now had girls approaching her in the street asking questions and the girls have the confidence to talk among themselves about the changes they are experiencing. The boys were even asking for a talk too! It was lovely watching Faria establishing strong relationships with the students, and one that will strengthen and allow her to really make a difference in the lives of students, beyond education.

So, thanks to the Dhaka Project for making my time in Gawair so enjoyable. It won't be one that I forget easily! Getting all dressed up for my final Faculty of Law ball in Sydney next weekend feels somewhat trivial and futile in comparison to what I have experienced in Dhaka, especially in contrast to the poverty and conditions; but I'll try and be satisfied with the fact that I have used my skills, in a very small way, to do something to help...and that one day, I'll be back!

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