OBAT Helpers Inc

OBAT Helpers works for the welfare, support, and rehabilitation of displaced and stateless people by providing programs to alleviate the daily suffering and burdens of thousands of Urdu speaking people (known as "Biharis") who are stranded in makeshift camps in Bangladesh. OBAT Helpers implements projects in education and vocational training, self- empowerment through micro-financing, health care with clinics, drinking water, proper sewerage, and emergency relief projects. The Biharis have been stranded in Bangladesh since it achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971. Referred to as, “stranded Pakistanis,” this community was supposed to be repatriated to Pakistan after the t...
Nov 25, 2014

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Students holding up their clothing gifts
Students holding up their clothing gifts

Dear friends,

While freezing temps are upon most of us, Bangladesh is still enjoying warm weather. Our kids at the preschools are making the most if it, spending much of their time after school in playing outdoors.

Since you last heard about the little preschoolers, they have enjoyed an Eid celebration as well as a visit from the US. Eid is a religious festival celebrated in the camps and visitors are always welcomed with a lot of excitement.

At Eid, a lunch program was sponsored in the city of Rangpur for OBAT’s elementary and preschool students. Kids enjoyed a hearty meal consisting of traditional Bangladeshi cuisine, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Mr. Ejazur Rahman from the US. This is a rare treat for the children as most of their families are struggling to survive.

 Eid is also an occasion to dress up in new clothes and have fun. Due to their destitution, many parents cannot afford to buy new clothes for their children. Thanks to another generous donor, fifty Eid outfits were donated to OBAT’s preschool students in Mirpur. We are really grateful to both these donors for their generosity in helping the preschoolers enjoy Eid.

The visitor from the US was Ms. Shayla Azeem who visited the OBAT English School, Preschool, NLJ Junior High School and Geneva camp. Ms. Azeem was visiting from the U.S. where she is involved in a lot of social work. Being originally from Bangladesh, she was interested in visiting the camps to gauge the current living conditions there.

Your support of OBAT’s preschools means a lot to us. Thanks to your generosity, we have raised $ 5,700 and have a little more than $8,000 left to go. As you embrace the season of giving and sharing, help us reach this target by encouraging your friends and family to donate to this project in a loved one’s name in lieu of a Christmas gift. It will certainly be the most meaningful holiday present anyone can give!

Sending you warm wishes for a chilly winter,

The OBAT team.

Eid clothes being distributed
Eid clothes being distributed
All smiles
All smiles
Eid lunch
Eid lunch
Students with Shayla Azeem
Students with Shayla Azeem

Links:

Aug 26, 2014

Schools within Camps

A classroom
A classroom

The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to OBAT Helpers Inc.

OBAT was one of my most favorite organizations in Bangladesh. For the first time since I entered Bangladesh, I could converse in Urdu! A language that is native to my city of Hyderabad. But mostly, I love this organization because despite the sad conditions of the community and camps, the staff is very positive, extremely hardworking and focused on ushering in a new future for this community through education.

I visited OBAT pre-schools, primary and middle schools. The pre-schools are cheerful and have a bright atmosphere, a stark contrast to the slum outside the schools doors. Kids love the games which include math and memory work as well as the rhymes that allow them to the learn language. In the primary and the middle schools, the kids look like students from any other primary school – well groomed in their uniforms and ready with OBAT notebooks and backpacks. OBAT has custom curriculum for their schools that focuses on developing motor skills and language faster. Some of the senior students that I visited were busy writing their exams and they were so focused, they said a quick hello and continued the writing frenzy.

All the teachers are from the communities themselves. While some of the teachers are seniors there are others who are young university grads attending masters. I thought it was brilliant to encourage students to get their masters, work and contribute to their communities at the same time. These teachers are some of the most motivated teachers I have ever seen and the energy in each classroom is amazing.

While I was at OBAT, I also met a visiting Canadian Professor, teaching at the American University for Women. Her class is on internally displaced persons (IDP’s) and it was really interesting for me to get her perspective of the camps. In addition to learning the history, it was a huge eye opener because I was seeing the aftermath of partition of India and then Pakistan, some 43 years after the liberation war. As I walked through the camps and met some elderly women, I heard stories of their memories from India, migration, settlement, the war and how they got here. Never did any of them imagine that their lives would change so drastically. The camps are plagued with problems from overpopulation, sanitation problems, unemployment, lack of water and resources. But despite all of this, OBAT is looking to the future and with such hardworking kids, the future looks bright. 

In the camp: A student getting ready for school
In the camp: A student getting ready for school
In the Camp: A small house for 7
In the Camp: A small house for 7
Concentrating on the exam
Concentrating on the exam
Aug 4, 2014

Summer updates!

OBAT USA team visiting Chittagong preschool in May
OBAT USA team visiting Chittagong preschool in May

Dear friends,

 Hope you have been having a great summer thus far. The little ones at OBAT's preschools are also getting ready to go back to school for the new school year after a well deserved summer break. They worked hard for their half yearly exams and the results are a testament to their efforts. Eighty-one percent of the students at the Chittagong preschools got either an A +, A – or an A! Seventy-eight percent of the students got A’s at the Khulna Preschool while ninety-two percent  of the kids at the Rangpur Preschool got an A +, A – or an A.

Right before summer break in May, the kids were excited to meet the OBAT team.  A group of five delegates from Indianapolis, USA, accompanied OBAT’s president, Mr. Anwar Khan during his annual trip to Bangladesh. The team included: Carey Craig, Arishaa Khan, Fatima Hussain and Immad Ahmed who are involved with OBAT as staff, volunteers or board members.  The group visited all the preschools and enjoyed talking to the precocious students. They also met with Sohail Khan, OBAT’s program Manager in BD, discussed the curriculum that was being followed at the preschools and gave their recommendations on how to improve the functioning of the preschools.

Thank you for your support of OBAT’s preschools. Your generosity has helped us raise $ 5,690 and we have a little more than $8,000 left to raise. Help us reach this target by sharing this project with your friends and family.

Until next time,

Warm regards,

The OBAT team.

Arishaa Khan with kids
Arishaa Khan with kids
From right: Carey Craig, Anwar Khan, Sohail Akhter
From right: Carey Craig, Anwar Khan, Sohail Akhter
Chittagong preschool kids
Chittagong preschool kids
Anwar Khan, greeting Rangpur Preschool kids
Anwar Khan, greeting Rangpur Preschool kids

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