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, astranded Pakistanis,a this community was supposed to be repatriated to Pakistan after the two co...
Dec 19, 2016

You did it! Thank you for building 425 futures.

Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students

 

Dear friends,

This morning, I opened my mailbox to receive the wonderful news that our preschool project is now fully funded! I wanted to thank all of you as you made this happen with your support, compassion and your desire to make this world a better place.

You not only donated to a project located thousands of miles away, but you also transformed the lives of 425 little kids who now, thanks to you, have the chance to attend an elementary school and not spend their days in futility. If you had not given them this opportunity, these kids, instead of being in school, would be helping their parents earn a living, a couple of years down the road. What a waste that would have been of their potential! So today, you should give yourselves a pat on the back for not letting their lives go to waste and for building the foundations for their now bright futures.

Due to the project being fully funded, we are now deactivating it. However, if you held this cause close to your hearts, you can continue to extend your support to our new preschool project which will help us educate 225 children in our new Chittagong Preschool: https://goto.gg/25821. Please do share this new project with your friends and families and encourage them to support it, especially during the Christmas and end of year giving campaign running currently on Global Giving.

Here are some resources for you to learn more about the difference that you are creating with your support: You can subscribe to our newsletter here to know how much you are helping. You can also view our electronic 2015 annual report here and find us on Facebook.

Congratulations on your accomplishment of funding this project and thank you again for helping us reach our goal. Your generosity is unparalleled!

Cheers,

Saima Hassan.

www.obathelpers.org | contact@obathelpers.org | 317.203.0603

Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students
Rangpur Preschool students

Links:

Oct 26, 2016

Lessons learnt from a "good" mistake

volunteers carrying out survey
volunteers carrying out survey

 

OBAT Helpers has been working to empower the camp residents living in acute poverty in Bangladesh since 2004. Substantial progress has been made toward the objectives of empowering this unfortunate group, thanks to the support we have received over the years. The organization is now serving the camp population in eleven cities by implementing projects related to education, health and microfinance. Throughout this journey, OBAT has had the privilege of using the talents of the local community members who are a part of its staff and who have helped with the implementation and the running of the projects. To streamline our projects to better serve the camp community, the need for accurate data is immense. The area we serve in Bangladesh, is geographically dispersed and data is hard to find or collect. There are no recent official sources of data or documentation available either. Hence, OBAT decided to partner with PARAA, a United Kingdom based nonprofit in 2015.

The project was known as the Survey and Mapping Project of the camps.

The project was launched to ascertain the following information:

 

  1. The actual number of camp residents
  2. Their living conditions
  3. Their age, education, health status and income level
  4. The availability to the camp dwellers of access to water and sanitation facilities.
  5. To carry out a mapping of the camps in order to find out the exact number of streets, locations of housing etcetera.

 

The project started in Mirpur, Dhaka and used an electronic survey that was developed by PARAA. Volunteers from the camps were used to collect the information and to also carry out the actual physical measurement of the housing.

 

However, the organization ran into unseen problems. A lot of it had to do with beingunable to secure buy in from the camp dwellers before the start of the project. Communication was insufficient and a lack of clear understanding prevailed before the project started. The mapping conveyed a wrong message to the camp dwellers. They thought that a group or organization was measuring their houses and camp areas and were planning to remove them from their homes. This created panic among the camp residents, conflict among the camp management committee about how to handle the situation and ultimately created a huge roadblock for conducting the survey and mapping. Since this was an independent project operated by PARAA, OBAT was not involved in their strategic planning and day to day activities. This was an oversight from OBAT’s end as we were not monitoring the project on the ground but were being totally dependent on our partnering organization. Prior to this, PARAA had not done these types of projects in the camps and they did not have an idea of the issues that could arise. OBAT was unable to identify these issues ahead of time, either. By the time they surfaced, too much time had elapsed and money had been invested. Financial repercussions did not allow OBAT to proceed further with the project.

 

 Many lessons were learnt from this project. We learned that before initiating a project that requires participation and input from the community, we have to build an understanding for the objectives of the project and the process amongst them. We should have created a clear understanding of what the outcome of the project would be and what difference it would make in the lives of the camp residents. Things could have gone a lot more smoothly if the camp residents were involved in the process as well. When we decided to partner with PARAA, we relied too heavily on them and did not do the needful on our part.

 

Henceforth, OBAT will use a different approach with its partners, one that involves better coordination and greater involvement during the initial strategic planning meetings.  We will also ensure close monitoring during the operation of the project to ensure that the project is proceeding as planned and any problems can be addressed as they arise. Any mistake is a good one as long as it is considered a learning experience and used to build better programs in the future.

measuring the size of a home
measuring the size of a home
with a camp resident
with a camp resident

Links:

Aug 15, 2016

Almost at the finish line!

Mim
Mim

Dear friends,

2016 has been great for our Preschool project! Thanks to you, we were able to raise almost 28% of our funding goal in only the first seven months! This is fantastic news- as of now, we only have $681 left to raise! But, more about that later, let’s get you up to speed with what’s been going on at our preschools.

Our project officer, Sohail Khan recently visited the Syedpur Preschool as a part of his regular monitoring and evaluation project tours. He met with the teachers as well as the students and offered solutions and some mentoring for the challenges they are faced with. Project tours like these are an imperative part of our monitoring process as like most of OBAT’s projects, the Preschools are dispersed across different cities in Bangladesh. They also ensure that the little kids continue to get stellar results. In the recent half yearly exams that were held across preschools in five cities, 740 preschoolers took the exams and 568 or 76% of them achieved an A +, A, or an A- grade!

Mim is one of these stellar students and a sweet little five year old girl. Her father, Irad Mia, works in a facility that manufactures packaging while her mother, Yasmin makes clay toys for a living. She lives in Millat Camp in Mohammadpur, Dhaka with one elder sister, Kajol who is fourteen years old. Kajol does hand embroidery on sarees and her income contributes to the family’s finances. Mim also has a four year old younger brother, Tanvir who likes to tag along with her mostly. Mim is currently studying in OBAT’s Dhaka Preschool and is a very bright student. She could not have afforded to attend school had it not been for your support of OBAT’s preschools. Her dream is to become a doctor when she grows up. She is very fond of studying and wishes to also teach other kids when she is old enough. Mim also loves to paint and sketch. She loves to eat biryani (a local rice and meat dish), fruits and vegetables. Her favorite game is playing with cooking utensils.

Incredible supporters like you have helped us nurture the potential in students like Mim. You have helped us raise more than $13,000. With just $681 to go, we are in the home stretch and the finish line is well within our sight. Stay with us in this wonderful journey of educating young kids!

Cheers,

Your OBAT family.

Mim, with her dad.
Mim, with her dad.
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
Syedpur Preschool
A student at Syedpur Preschool
A student at Syedpur Preschool

Links:

 
   

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