Thursday, March 26, 2009


We feel grateful for the Children Oasis Nursery School Dubai's fundraising activity that had big success through selling school photographs to the students, their parents and staff. This was a wonderful initiative!
Thank you for the support given to The Dhaka Project.
The amount raised, 500.00 Dirhams, will be very useful in making a difference in the lives of the slums children in Dhaka under the care of the project.
As an example, with this amount we can pay for 250 kg of rice, enough to provide basic food to our hundreds of children for a few days.
So we address our deep gratitude to Iris and Petra at Oasis Nursery School Dubai (as well as to staff, parents and students) for this kind initiative, on behalf of The Dhaka Project children.
Equally, our huge thanks to the volunteers, Sandra Metaxas and Amanda Martin, who produced the photos and had an active role in this event !!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The Dhaka Project has recently been involved in the emergency of aiming to save Fatema's life.
And for that purpose the team launched an appeal seeking for help.

Al Diyafah High School responded supportively with a humanitarian spirit for the sake of saving a human life and Mrs Joyce Rufus, Principal, to whom we are extremely grateful, got in touch with us to hand a very helpful donation to one of our volunteers, that covered a very significant portion of the total cost of Fatema's operation. So, their precious donation of 5,000.00 Dirhams have incorporated Fatema's operation expenses covering a great part of it.We wish to express a warm and heartful ''thank you'' to Mrs Joyce Rufus, Principal, and to all students and people involved in this fund raise action at Al Diyafah High School; the students' motivated little hearts concerned with the appaling poverty felt where other children struggle for their day to day survival, had the precious help of their parents, teachers and staff, to whom we express our deep gratitude for their kindness and this noble gesture, on behalf of The Dhaka Project children.
Also a big thanks to Cpt. Manuel Piñeiro and Solange Piñeiro who collected this donation from Al Diyafah School !
Unfortunately Fatema left us soon after the operation as reported in a previous entry. Outstanding, there is all the good will shown by these young fund raisers.
Thank You!


Just a short and very well deserved entry to show this picture adressed to Kaleo, the 4 year old son of Audrey Kolb.
Kaleo, as already written in this blog, has given away all his anniversary presents on behalf of The Dhaka Project Kids, who return him with this surprise.
Thanks Kaleo, once again,... as well as to his friends Hallo Jan, Axel, Sebi, Ethan, Mark and Gayle, who helped him make his dream possible !!!

Friday, March 20, 2009


A generous and valuable donation has recently been offered by Tim
Mace of Tenzing Marketing Consultancy, as declared in their Corporate Responsibility page.
We are talking about a pretty sum of 4,000.00 Dirhams that will make an amazing difference in the life of the kids under the care of The Dhaka Project, and will be an important drive towards their better future.
A grateful thanks to Tim Mace and Tenzing Marketing Consultancy, on behalf of the children cared at The Dhaka Project !!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Amanda Burgess @ The Dhaka Project

Amanda Burgess, Cabin Crew of Emirate Airlines, from Australia visited The Dhaka Project a few days earlier. She was here for one day but tried her best to contribute as much possible. She brought with her some very useful donations such as FAX machine, Printer, huge amount of beauty products, dresses and much other stuff. She had a brief tour of the project and got introduced with the students and the teachers. She saw a bright future of the project and shown her interest to come back for a longer period.

Once again we would like to request more volunteers to come forward to work for The Dhaka Project for a longer period. The experience which such wonderful volunteers have can help The Dhaka Project a great deal. In the process our team members will be able to get a chance to learn from them as well. We thank Amanda for her time and the things she did and suggested us to do in her trip to The Dhaka Project.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kathie's Feedback

I have just recently returned from a humbling but fantastic experience at the Dhaka Project. I went there as a Paramedic prepared to do anything to provide whatever assistance I could, medical or otherwise and I am so happy that I went.

It was my first time to Bangladesh and I travelled there with my son Andrew who also went as a volunteer. On arriving at Zia Airport I was amazed to find out that the luggage from all three flights was being unloaded manually as is the custom and that it would take us nearly 2 hours before we received our bags and our visa and were able to leave the airport. We were greeted outside by the delightful Jewel who is The Dhaka Project Volunteer Manager; we were then introduced to the Dhaka road rules in a hire taxi with no seatbelts and a broken windscreen, exhilarating to say the least! We were dropped off at our accommodation which was clean, safe and comfortable; it even had the internet and air conditioning, which was a very nice bonus. As it was a Friday and the school and clinic were closed we spent time exploring TDP area and Dhaka itself by way of walking, rickshaw and some very perilous driving in a Tut Tut (CNG they call them in BD) with a really crazy driver. On our journeys we were hit by a bus, hit two pedestrians and side swiped a few other vehicles. Fortunately no one was hurt; all this road chaos just seems to be the norm here in Dhaka.

The next morning we were introduced to the staff and all the children after which I went off to the clinic and Andrew was asked to takes some classes due to the urgent need for teachers.
At the Medical Clinic I met Dr Jahid the Dhaka Project medical doctor, his nurse, the dentist and Julie the Health Facilitator who is an angel from Australia volunteering her services and doing such a wonderful job in helping these children and their families with all the health issues. I applaud her!

The clinic is extremely basic in its set up. Having worked as a paramedic in New Zealand and more recently in Dubai, with the very best of medical treatment on hand in both countries, I was saddened at how little they have in the way of basic assessment tools and treatment. Andrew and I had bought medical supplies and equipment that we thought would be useful for the clinic. Included was a Nebuliser as Dr Jahid had said that they needed one but unfortunately I didn’t know that there would be no Ventolin, Atrovent, Combivent or even Oxygen or Inhalers…… I could have so easily brought these meds with me and there are so many children with respiratory issues that would benefit greatly from these medications. Dr Jahid is a wonderful man and so caring of the children but he can only work with what is available to him. Each morning I went with the doctor and we started at the Nursery and examined each and every child, beginning with those who were obviously unwell. Dr Jahid provides a prescription for their medication which is either provided for or paid for by TDP. We then repeat this procedure at the Kindergarten and then the Pre School. All the small children line up when we come in and most of them are so very excited to see us. They come in one by one with their tops all pulled up showing their little tummies and ready to have their chest auscultated, they all know the drill. I was really surprised to see that even the pre schoolers are provided with uniforms but most of them still tend to wear their own clothes underneath. After we finished with these three groups we walk on over to the school where the clinic is situated. The children all arrive in groups from their class and I would estimate that we see at least 80 children per day. The health problems are many including severe cardiac and respiratory issues, digestive disorders, skin disorders as well as numerous cases of other illnesses caused by hygiene factors and living conditions. The children all have comprehensive records kept of their health and they are all immunized. Obviously the clinic and its staff are providing a valuable service to these children.

I also went with Julie and Jewel to the Children’s Hospital in Dhaka (another scary Tut Tut ride) to visit Ridoy who is a child from TDP Nursery and his mother. We took their food for the next few days and also collected Ridoys prescription and went and purchased his medicine and took it back to the ward. Absolutely everything has to be provided by the family for the patient (TDP is funding this little boy) and nothing is free except a few limited beds. The hospital was probably the most personally distressing situation that I witnessed. It is extremely overcrowded, dirty and rundown and lacking in any visible hygiene standards but I am sure all the mothers with their babies were very grateful to be there. I saw a baby who couldn’t have been more than 5 kilos lying on the desk top among the grubby germ ridden patient files, being cannulated and the same needle used over 3 or 4 attempts. Despite of all this misery I couldn’t believe how friendly and interested most of the mums and the children were in who I was and where I was from. They are all so extremely poor yet offered me their water and fruit.

My best memories are of the happy, laughing children who greet you every corner you turn practicing their English with “Good Morning, how are you, I am fine” and just the overall friendliness and easy going way of the Bangladeshi people who live in such utter poverty but remain so accepting of their circumstances. I felt totally safe and respected the whole time I was there and constantly reminded of how much I have in my own life and how fortunate I am. I will definitely be returning soon!

Living in Dubai I had read and heard many wonderful things about the great work that Maria had done in setting up and running the Dhaka Project but actually seeing what is being achieved there shows that “yes one person can make a difference”. Maria and her supporters are apart from educating these 597 children, providing medical and dental care, clothing, weekly food parcels for the family, hygiene programmes, family support and even housing when able.

Any medical people or in fact anyone reading this blog and considering going to TDP do it, it is food for your soul!

Kathie Minchin

Fabiamo and Mervyn @ The Dhaka Project

The Dhaka Project had two more committed visitors named Fabiamo and Mervyn Morel. They brought some useful donation for the children. The donation included some sport items such as football together with products for the children of day-care and nursery. They were very pleased with the organized and structured management. They saw a bright future ahead of these children and fine administration to execute the goal. Both of them also committed to come and do volunteer job in their vacation. We appreciated their approach and will be glad if they work as volunteer in The Dhaka Project.

Rest in Peace

The Dhaka Project is in great shock and tears all around. Everybody is finding it hard to accept that Fatama is no more with us. It’s a hard time to pass. A little member of The Dhaka Project named Fatama had a major operation few days back as it was mentioned in the earlier blog failed to survive the critical condition after the operation. Mourning and unbearable upset shaded The Dhaka Project’s family. We don’t know how to live with the fact that Fatama won’t be giggling in the class room again. It’s even harder to write about these. We request everybody to pray for her and her family.

She was a smiley child since the day she born. The Dhaka Project was glad to have her in the nursery section. She was very popular among the teachers in the age of one and half years only. Everybody used to play with her and cared her very much. But in the recent days she lost her charm and her smile became blurred as a very sad and unwanted incident happened with her. She cries the whole day and none of her favorite teacher can stop her cry no matter what they do. All of us were very worried with this fact and asked Doctor Zahid for help. It was then we came to know something is terribly wrong. We took her to the Aichi hospital and the hospital authority referred her to NICVD (National Institute of Cardiac Vascular Disease) Hospital of Bangladesh. According to her condition the Cardiac Doctor said that “she is very vulnerable to heart failure”. The reports illustrated that she had Congenital Heart Disease (Severe Valvular PS with marked RV hypertrophy and moderate RV systolic function. Small secundum ASD/PFO flow R-1, Good LV systolic function). She needed emergency operation which will cost approximately BDT. 150,000. We then appealed for help to every well-wishers of The Dhaka Project and the respond was tremendous. Many people came forward to help. We thank them very much who contributed and who intended to contribute. We thank Dr. Kazi Abul Hasan, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon and the hospital management for trying their best. Nevertheless we want to thank The Dhaka Project team of Dr. Jahid, Health Care In charge, Md. Azad, Project Officer, Arifur Rahman, Project Manager and Minhas Uddin Shimul, Senior Operation Officer who worked round the clock for Fatama.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last Saturday with the help of our team of enthusiastic volunteers Solange Barros, Nurul Islam, Akash D Loungani, Anirudha Limaye we fundraised 3114 Dirhams that are going to do wonders at The Dhaka Project.
Nurul Islam and Solange Barros, as usual, worked tremendously hard organizing the donations, packing, loading their cars and taking those donations to Safa Park .. Nurul Islam started working at 7 AM to organize the sale...
Nurul even organized a van to pick up the donations from the store in the mezzanine floor and was the only volunteer staying behind until late in the afternoon in Safa Park trying to fundraise...
And the helpful Nurul kept running the sale until 3 PM but has been caught at Safa Park until 6:30 PM. Unfortunately someone failed to pick him up and he couldn't get a taxi. So much sacrifice that made the remaining team feel sorry for him!
Thank you to Nurul, Solange, Akash, Anirudha... for their hard work and for coming forward extending their help in this beautiful and very hot day... All are golden stars who we address our gratitude on behalf of our children at The dhaka Project !!!

Monday, March 9, 2009


The Dhaka Project Friday Garage Sales in Dubai keep being run, now mainly by Nurul Islam who dedicates all his weekends to help the project in Dhaka .
The sales have brought a significant income, and have the following numbers, all due to items sold by Nurul:
  • On 23rd Jan - 380 Dirhams
  • On 30th Jan - 945 Dirhams
  • On 6th Feb - 825 Dirhams
  • On 13th Feb - 754 Dirhams
  • On 20th Feb - 1039 Dirhams
  • On 27th Feb - 1550 Dirhams
  • On 6th Mar - 1224 Dirhams
Thanks to Nurul who has really been working hard to help his compatriots specially the children under the care of the project in Gawair-Dhaka, and thanks to Solange who keeps highly commited in her wish of helping, as well to other volunteers who have been helping to keep the store tidy and prepared for the sales, and to all the uncountable donors who offered us their used items.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Elizabeth @ The Dhaka Project

One of the dearest friends of The Dhaka Project is Elizabeth. She was here a few days back and worked hard in different sectors of the project. Her experience and dedication helped us a great deal. She took art, craft and science classes for two days. She was very well prepared and showed skillful teaching quality. She also went for family visit in different areas and did some counseling. On 22nd February she attended the cultural program done by the students and was amazed by seeing our talented little masters’ acts. All in all it was a very helpful contribution from Elizabeth and we appreciate every bit of.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is a tale about a man from the slum of Korail. He used to be a fish seller in the slum unaware of what is waiting for him in future. He came to Gawair back in 2005 together with his family and the journey began. He got admitted in The Dhaka Project Adult Development program. A man with no previous schooling and knowledge about English learned to do basic mathematics and speak reasonable English by virtue of the program. But it was still hard for him to find a job. Project recruited him for grocery shop and then he was promoted to Office Assistant with a salary of BDT. 4000. He used be very honest and hard working. Maria, Founder of The Dhaka Project, initiated to recruit him in Emirates for his farther betterments. Delicates form Emirates came and interviewed Nurul Islam and they were very impressed by his ability to speak up English. The picture of Nurul Islam tells the remaining part of the story. He didn’t forget The Dhaka Project in the process. Now he works in his weekends to raise fund for the project. We were always proud to have Nurul Islam and thank him for his pay back to the project.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Breads and juice for the Children

Some wonderful personal visited The Dhaka Project few days back. They were Tiago Rigeiro, Arey Lergd, Marcello Calleja, Sun Young Lim and Roxanue Wenth. They brought some delicious doughnuts, cookies, breads and juice with them. The children were out of their mind seeing so many yummy things to eat. They took a long tour of the project and gave the children to eat these things. Many cookies and juice are still left for the children to have those later. They were very inspiring for us. We really request everybody to be our volunteer as we can get to learn many things and above all working besides such volunteers’ works as tonic in our stimulation. We always say that only donation from our gorgeous supporters didn’t make The Dhaka Project what it is now and donation alone won’t take The Dhaka Project to its goal. We need moral support and share of experience from the volunteers to make it happen for real.

Halima Khatun

If you walk through the roads of Gawair, Dhaka, you can often see a 97 years old man selling tea. His name is Md. Damesh Ali. There is no sign of regression in his face and very serious about his business. He has no other way to feed his family. He spends so many years of his life in poverty and discomforts that for him the definition of life is fighting hard and suffering misery. But his daughter defines life in the other way around. His daughter’s name is Halima Khatun a bright little star of The Dhaka Project.

Halima, her father and her mother forms their poor but happy family. They live in a single room house. She used to be a very bright student. Before The Dhaka Project she used to be in primary school where she won first place in class three. The sad part of the story began when it was not possible for Md. Damesh Ali to continue her study. She was crying outside her house knowing that she can’t achieve her dream and will have to walk in the same path as her father did. Suddenly she meets with a senior student of the project who influenced her to get admitted in the project’s school. Halima’s journey in her dream path started again. We made her believe as far as we and our respected supporters are with us she won’t have to look back. She worked hard at school and home to keep up with the English medium curriculum as her former school followed Bengali syllabus. The first term result was not satisfactory in compare to her proven smartness. But it did not take her long to be on track. She started to work harder and now she if on the verge of achieving the goal. She is looking forward for a very good result in the final term and her teachers believe she can. We wish her all the best for the exam.

Halima has a very wonderful dream of becoming a professional dance teacher. She has a small and sad story behind it. A relatively rich friend of her had a dance teacher. Everyday after school Halima used to see her friend dancing by her window. One day Halima went to the dance teacher and asked him that her father cannot effort to pay her for a dance teacher but she is very eager to learn classical dance and in reply the teacher pushed her away telling that he has no time for free service. She cried the whole week requesting her father for a dance teacher but it was quite impossible for a 97 years old tea seller. Her aim in life now is to get educated and to have higher education on classical dance from professional dance institution and teach poor slums’ children dance for free.

We believe all the employees, students and their parents completes as a family which we call The Dhaka Project. We are always there for the members of the family who needs help. We are beside each other working hard to break through the misery of these underprivileged children. Mr. Azad, Community Manager, got to know about very sad news of Rafiq’s, cleaner, wife’s breast cancer. He then took the bold decision to raise fund from everybody. He asked teachers and office staffs to donate as much they can and managed to raise a very helpful amount of BDT. 2000. He went to everybody telling how badly Rafiq needs money in his own responsibility. We appreciate such compassion of Mr. Azad and feel safe when he is around.

Hand Washing Day 19th February 2009

The Hand washing Health awareness programme is continuing with a variation on the original plan. The Health Care Centre team decided to consolidate the message of how important correct hand washing with soap and water or correct and washing with ash and water is as a means of preventing diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection, conjunctivitis and skin problems.

Instead of delivering one Hand Washing awareness training session to all students in the school and their families, the health care centre team will focus on raising awareness and educating thirty students and two of their family members each. This will consolidate the message with a smaller group who can then become change agents for the school and their community. All four sessions focus on hand washing and hygiene but use different approaches to deliver the message. Prior to the first workshop family visits take place with the students selected to take part in the hand washing awareness program. The purpose of these visits is to collect baseline information and to personally invite family members to attend the workshop.

The first session provides an overview of:- when hand washing is important; the type of illnesses correct hand washing can prevent; a demonstration and hand washing practice for everyone present using the technique recommended by the World Health Organisation; viewing of an episode focussing on hand washing and hygiene from the Mina DVD . During the workshop students and family members are invited forward to help describe posters depicting transmission of illness and prevention of illness. At the end all families are given a gift of soap and a chart describing hand washing technique in Bangla and diagrams.

The second session is a poster drawing competition. The theme of the posters is improving health and hand washing awareness. Three students will be given prizes. Those who draw posters which are best able to send hand washing health awareness messages will be given judged first second and third.

The third session is for students and their families and focuses on the importance of maintaining health and hygiene in other ways such as not eating open food (food that is not covered or prepared in a hygienic way), washing thoroughly and cooking safely. A demonstration of hand washing with ash and water as well as practice will also take place. At this session all families will be given a new towel for drying after hand washing as well as a Certificate of Attendance.

The fourth and final session will involve the thirty students coming together to practice a hand washing drama and then perform that drama in front of their families. They will by now have a very thorough understanding of why hand washing and hygiene is important and how this can be of benefit to their families and the community. The prize winners of the poster drawing competition will be announced at this time and prizes presented.

The Health Care Centre team hope that the students who participate in this program will be able to educate their classmates in an informal way. And also, those family members will talk to neigbours about what they have learnt. Additionally it is anticipated that students who have participated will have less presentations at the medical centre for illness related to poor and washing and hygiene practices.