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.
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.