When we first arrived in Bangladesh, we visited a camp in Adamjee where OBAT has not yet done any work. I was extremely disheartened to see the state in which people were living. Seeing all this made me feel overwhelmed, the situation was so bad and I felt as if it would be impossible to help resolve such an extreme situation. But in the following days, we visited other camps in the area where OBAT has helped establish schools, vocational centers, clinics as well as access to clean water and proper sewage systems. The difference was extremely motivating. Despite still living in these difficult conditions, the children in particular showed a huge amount of promise. Being able to attend proper schools will not only allow them to get educated and find good jobs, but also brings about a very important change in attitude. They are taking on initiatives to clean up their camps and help those who are even less fortunate than them. They are becoming better integrated into the greater society and will not allow themselves to be marginalized and live in these conditions for much longer. All of this made me realize that no matter how small of an effort we make, it can make an incredible difference in people’s lives. Despite the short amount of time and limited resources, the effect of OBAT's efforts is apparent and will change the generations to come. We heard many stories from orphans and widows that made me feel truly grateful for what we have been blessed with here in Canada. As difficult as it was to hear some of these heart wrenching cases, it was also amazing to see the resolve and determination of these people. Despite all that they have faced, they still have a positive outlook on life and are extremely thankful to those who are trying to help them. We met a successful local businessman who is also very involved in philanthropic activities, and he said something that has stuck with me: Helping others with the excess wealth that we have been blessed with should not be considered charity - it is our obligation. Those less fortunate than us are entitled to this wealth more than we are. I was extremely impressed with the work that OBAT has done, and would like to thank Anwar Uncle and the entire OBAT team for their tremendous efforts.
OBAT has won me over as an exemplary charitable organization. They are extremely efficient and clearly driven by the cause. They are also very responsive to donor inquiries and provide regular updates about their work. I highly recommend everyone looking to make this world a better place to support OBAT Helpers!
From the beginning of OBAT the founding members have tirelessly engaged in the betterment of the lives of those in the camps. They grew and continue to grow through their commitment to engage people at all levels to raise awareness. OBAT is an extensive organization filled with the most compassionate, driven humanitarians who welcome you into a family dedicated to improving the lives of those they serve and those who serve with them. I was honoured to have worked with OBAT and look forward to doing so in future.
I have attended the fundraising of OBAT Helpers many times. I am very impressed with the professionalism and the service that is provided to so many people with the limited resources that they have.
I am on staff at a large Methodist church and last June we hosted OBAT Helpers and their Iftar dinner. It was a great honor to get to meet their Board members and volunteers and learn about the outstanding work they are doing in Bangladesh. Every single one of the people involved is passionately committed to serving the people who have to struggle every day just to meet basic needs. They stretch their available dollars and make great things happen. I am happy to b associated with this great organization.
Since the start, OBAT Helpers has been doing amazing things to help those who are stranded in Bangladesh. What started with building a restroom for the camp dwellers, has now turned into a dynamic organization achieving goals and outcomes unimaginable to any of us. It is humbling to see the amount of time and dedication that the staff and volunteers put into this organization. I am excited to see what future projects will be added and how OBAT will continue to grow.
I truly admire the work that OBAT is doing. They have a established system in place to determine the need and help the community and families who are in need. I attended the Iftar fundraising event that was organized very well and connect people from different religions and social backgrounds to work for the same cause. I congratulate the OBAT team for their success and will support them to continue on their mission.
I have become a great fan of OBAT since being introduced to them about a year ago. I was unaware of the scale of the issues that they have taken on in the camps they serve--from schooling to medical care clinics to micro-lending. Trying to serve an impoverished, marginalized community of 500,000+ is a massive challenge in itself.
I had the privilege of visiting two of the camps in Dhaka a few months ago and it was both a heart wrenching and an inspiring experience. The conditions under which the camp inhabitants are living--no bathrooms, no running water, no kitchens, incredibly cramped quarters, extreme poverty--shook me to the core. What inspired me was the unbelievable optimism I saw in the faces of the children and adults I met and the degree of volunteerism that permeates the camps. It looks like everyone is helping their fellow campmate in one way or the other--a high-schooler teaching a kindergartner; a seamstress teaching her neighbor how to sew; etc, etc.
I also saw OBAT in action there. They are loved by the camp residents, are able to get tremendous support from them as well as from communities outside the camps, and wonderfully leverage a "volunteer army" from the camps. I also saw a very lean operation with almost no overhead, and a great deal of attention being paid to costs.
I have met the leadership team as well, from Anwar Khan (CEO & Founder) to Immad Siddiqui (COO) as well as others. They are among the most motivated, inspired and inspiring people I know--and their being at the helm gives me great confidence as a supporter.
In short, this is one of the best NGOs I have had the pleasure of supporting--and I work with quite a few good ones. Pound for pound, they deliver more than anyone I know. They also have a great cause which is easy to get behind, and they deliver visible, tangible results. My only concern is that they may be too lean; and that they may not have sufficient resources to do the fundraising they need to scale their programs. However, that motivates me to do more for them. I expect to remain a supporter for a long time.
Teach the World Foundation
1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 360
Washington, DC 20006
I (heart) OBAT Helpers Inc. The spirit and success of OBAT cannot be captured with words. Even the organization's title, which is based on the names of beloved family members, bespeaks a legacy of selfless service and compassion. OBAT is a cutting-edge non-profit that envisions possibility and pursues it -- with a human touch. And over the 13 years since Anwar and Afshan Khan established OBAT with immeasurable vim and vigor, their agency has become a welcome cheerleader for the once stateless masses of Bangladesh that has lifted thousands of men, women, and children from invisible impoverishment and transformed them into contributing citizens. And I am not just writing this glowing review because of what I have read or things I heard second hard. I have been able to witness this amazing transformation through multiple in-person visits to the stateless people camps in Bangladesh: for the first time in 2004 and several time since with the most recent trip in early 2016. The change is almost unbelievable. OBAT's executive and local leadership have taken great pains to grow their organization in a strategic, systematic, and sustainable manner. All administrative tasks are handled professionally. OBAT's country-centered programs are progressive and meaningful. Great effort is made to empower staff, actively engage volunteers, and boost beneficiaries alike. In a world teeming with groups that do good works, OBAT Helpers stands out. OBAT undertakes cost/benefit analysis, seeks practical solutions, and sets out to tackle real problems by investing in people and practical on-the-ground programs that make a measurable difference. I (heart) OBAT Helpers.
I went to Bangladesh in Dec 2016. I visited few camps in Dhaka and in other cities as well. No words can define the misery and suffering through which the people in the camps are going through on a daily basis since last 45 years. Be it accommodation, livelihood, medical, drinking water, toilets and bathrooms- each job is an uphill task to perform. It is beyond one's imagination how a family can live in a 8 ft. x 8 ft. space which happens to be their living room, bed room, kitchen and everything. The third generation of camp dwellers is passing through the anguish and pain since last four decades.
OBAT Helpers are doing an amazing job in the camps. They believe in providing the fishing rod instead of the fish. Besides providing basic amenities where possible, this organization is giving hope, dreams and optimism to the people and the major tool which they are using is EDUCATION. It is hard to believe but it is a fact that second generation of the camp residents are completely uneducated due to various facts but there are so many educated people in the third generation. I talked with the school kids, graduate young men and other students and I was impressed by the glow on their faces when they were talking about their future and their goals and aims in life. Definitely OBAT has empowered the community with the feeling that they have not been completely forgotten and they can also achieve all the good things in life like other human beings with the support from OBAT Helpers and using education as a tool.
OBAT Helpers are doing their job in a systematic way while remaining in their means. They have a bunch of volunteers who are from the camps (mostly) and dedicated to the cause.
This is a very brief account of what I witnessed there. There are many stories on each end of the alleys in the camps, stories which are unbelievable. I will encourage all those people who feel for the forgotten to pay a visit to the camps and see the situation with their own eyes.
I heard about the work OBAT Helpers does in the camps in Bangladesh many years ago. I followed their progress from a distance. Then last year, I decided to learn more and help. The more I learn about OBAT's work, the more amazed I am at the dedication of the team and the difference it is making in the lives of the forgotten people in Bangladesh.
OBAT provides assistance to the population it serves but more importantly it provides hope.
The images from Bangladesh are so different from just a few years ago - from hopelessness to young faces beaming with hope. Thank you OBAT for doing this very important work!
OBAT is amazing. We did a Iftar together that me and my friend organized. It had a good turn out. They learn and teach people of different religions and beliefs and beings people together. I would love to do more work with them.
It was through Obat Helpers Inc. staff, Professor John Clark and Saima Hassan, Director of Development and Communications that I learned about the plight of thousands of stateless people stranded in refugee camps in Bangladesh. I was impressed about how geared up they were when I was informed of the efforts being put to address the living conditions, education and economic empowerment of these populations.
I moved to Indianapolis from Texas and the second charity that I heard of, right behind the hugely funded Reconnecting to Our Waterways, was the much smaller Obat Helpers. Professor John Clark, Saima Hassan and the Obat folks began publicizing the plight of Muslim on Muslim violence in Bangladesh and suddenly, wham!, Bangladesh was in the news for gruesome machete attacks by one outlying Mulslim groups against blogging Muslims, secular Muslims and marginalized Muslims and basically any differing Muslims. Obat not only predicted this type of violence and this type of victim, but was already in Bangladesh trying to alleviate it. Bravo!
For the past few months I have been consulting with OBAT and Saima Hassan, Director of Development & Comms. Working with Saima has been a pleasure-filled experience as she is very charismatic, organized, poised, and determined. OBAT is in great hands and will continue to do amazing things under the leadership and guidance of Saima and her staff.
Great nonprofit with a great cause! Appreciate the transparency and the work they are doing to empower the people in the camps.
I had the privilege of interning for OBAT Helpers this past summer as their Social Media/Public Relations intern. This experience gave me valuable insight into the situation of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh. The mission of OBAT is pure in heart and their impact in the camps is measurable. With the efforts of OBAT and its donors, the camp dwellers should reach self - sufficiency within the upcoming decade. OBAT not only benefits the community as a whole, but has initiatives directed at empowering women and engaging youth. They created OBAT Media Productions, a project ran by youths living in the camps, as well as Think Tank in which camp youth take responsibility for improving their communities. OBAT and its staff are highly competent and trustworthy and are making a remarkable difference in the lives of many.
I have been in touch with OBAT helpers for over 10 years. Recently they arranged a seminar in Dallas in which a few other distinguished US citizens like Dr. John Clark and Dr. Maureen Lynch, Dr. Pail and Dr. Ayaz Malik gave an eye witness account of their visit to the camps in Bangladesh. They all confirmed that OBAT helpers are doing an extraordinary job for the welfare of people in the camps.
OBAT is a very transparent organization that allows a donor to know where the money is going, where the effort is being placed, where the work is being done. The staff is effective and easy to communicate with regarding any questions or concerns. Happy to have been a volunteer!
OBAT Helpers is a great organization to be a part of as a volunteer and donor. The initiatives that they have started to empower the people in the camps have made a tremendous difference in many lives and will continue to do so in the future. The staff and volunteers are helpful and show pride in being a part of OBAT.
OBAT Helpers takes a uniquely innovative path to addressing the marginalized Urdu-speaking population living in Bangladesh. Deeply introspective, OBAT internally addresses the needs of this population in order to reestablish the basic necessities. Looking forward to see this population flourish and to see OBAT grow as an organization. Keep up the good work!
I worked with OBAT helpers in January and was remarkably impressed by the variety and depth of their programs.
What was most impressive for me was how OBAT Helpers took advantage of opportunities as they arose, making sure every resource was used to its maximum benefit.