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Review for Obat Helpers Inc, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I spent three weeks in Bangladesh, volunteering with OBAT in the camps for stranded Pakistanis. I was impressed by the dedication of OBAT's field staff and walking through the camps with them I observed how they were well liked and appreciated by the community, with many people coming up to greet us with smiles. Although, camp conditions were really shocking for me to see (a Canadian visiting such place for the first time), it would have been absolutely horrendous if OBAT was not doing such great work. I saw the water points and deep tube wells that OBAT had established and was operating, the repairs and construction of public toilets and sewage systems, operations of a medical clinic and pharmacy (dispensing subsidized medication) and how all of these were vital to the community. The camp residents we met were so thankful to have these facilities and mentioned how it made their lives easier especially the water points where previously they had to walk far, wait long and the water quality was not as good.

However, for me the best part was seeing a generation of children that were educated through OBAT schools. The young students we met in OBAT run schools were so positive and seemed so motivated to study. The older students who were volunteering with us had so much confidence and hope in their future despite the difficult living conditions and this is where I feel OBAT has really left a mark. They have provided a generation of kids hope that they can dream of good jobs and better living conditions due to their education. In particular, the girls were so brave and told us that with the help of OBAT staff they had convinced their parents to let them pursue their education and not marry them off at a young age. The social change brought by education cannot be represented in numbers and dollars, but it is such an important intangible in reversing the trend of impoverishment in these communities.

Role:  Volunteer