BICN 18-31 Jan 2001
Volume 4 Number 10
From the Editor
Sponsoring Girls into Education in Dhaka
This Issue's Sponsors (Paid Advertising)
Ebenessel Intl School - Another
Educational Option for Expatriate Families in Dhaka
Employment Opportunity for
Coordinator and English Teachers for EIS English Medium
Contemporary Bengali Instruction
Ethnic Bandarban Hilltract Tours:
Specials for Dhaka Expats
Book Review: "We Live in
Chittagong, Bangladesh - A Personal Guide"
More People To Gain Access To
Micro-Credit - New Project Aims To Reach Larger Numbers & The Poorest Of
Musicians & Performers Wanted
For BAGHA Pub Folk & Blues Night
Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond
Digital South Asia Library
Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details
Next issue submission deadline Tue
30 Jan 2001.
(c) BICN. Items may be freely reprinted with this attribution:
"Source: Bangladesh International Community News ( http://bicn.com
/ email@example.com )."
Get BICN on your handheld! Visit:
From the Editor
I note with sadness the death this week of Professor Edward Dimock, eminent
scholar of South Asia and specifically Bengali area studies. One of Prof.
Dimock's students, Dr. Tony Stewart, currently professor of religion at North
Carolina State University, has been a regular visitor to Dhaka and Calcutta in
recent years and is known to some of you.
[no longer online]:
Edward Cameron Dimock, 71, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago
who was an internationally known scholar of Bengali language and literature, had
a special way with students. He inspired them, certainly, but he also was there
with a bed and food when they were stranded in India without money.
Professor Dimock, who had been at the U. of C. for almost 35 years before
retiring in the early 1990s, died Thursday, Jan. 11, of cancer at his home in
In 1999, Algonquin Books published "Dr. Dimock Explores the Mysteries of
the East," a personal narrative of his thoughts and experiences with India.
At the time of his death, he was completing "Chips from a Cape Cod
Pasture," a book of reflections on the region that his family plans to
Professor Dimock, a distinguished service professor emeritus in South Asian
languages and civilizations, had written a number of scholarly publications,
including "The Thief of Love: Bengali Tales from Court to Village"
(Chicago, 1963); "The Place of the Hidden Moon: Erotic Mysticism in the
Vaisnava-Sahajiya Cult of Bengal" (Chicago, 1966); "In Praise of
Krishna" (Chicago, 1967), a volume of translated poetry; and, most
recently, "The Caitanya-Caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja" (Harvard,
1999), a translation of the biography of the Bengali saint, which represented a
lifetime of work by the professor.
Born in Roslindale, Mass., Professor Dimock graduated from Roxbury Latin
School, went on to Yale University and then to Harvard University's divinity
school where he received a PhD in 1959. - By Ruth E. Igoe, Tribune Staff Writer,
January 16, 2001
Sponsoring Girls into Education in Dhaka
By Mike & Rosey Whittles (email firstname.lastname@example.org )
Koruna, Dorifa, and Sokina are all twelve year old girls who work in the
Gulshan-2 market of Dhaka city. Each day at 8am, they enter the competitive
scramble with dozens of other young children, to try to entice or coerce
customers to hire them as carriers of their purchases.
This involves long hours hanging around inside the gloomy premises, from 8am
until 10pm, usually with no food, fending off the unwelcome attentions of older
men, hoping to appeal to a friendly buyer and earn a few Taka. Sometimes they
strike it lucky and a generous shopper gives them twenty or thirty Taka for a
few minutes work. Most days they get barely enough to pay for a rickshaw home
It's poor work, but it's all that these young girls can find to do, and each
of their families desperately needs the money. The girls live in tiny, one room
slum houses, each the eldest child of large families. Atypically, they all have
fathers, but Koruna's and Dorifa's are both unemployed and sick with lung
problems. Sokina's father is crippled from a road accident but he still manages
to beat her when her daily earnings are too small. Each of their mothers is
uneducated with several small children to nurse.
The responsibility of providing rice each evening and the month's rent for
the slum weighs heavily on the slender shoulders of these three young girls.
In January this year, their market life must cease when they come of age to
take up work in one of the many garments factories in this area. Still at 12
years old, they will begin working 72 hour weeks to earn Tk 800 each month (not
quite USD15). They will walk to and from the factory each day, even in the
monsoon, because a rickshaw ride would take most of their earnings. They will
work in overcrowded and unhealthy buildings, reminiscent of the Dickens era, to
provide quality garments for the export trade in well-known designer labels.
They will struggle to work even when they are ill, because if they are absent
they won't get paid and may lose their jobs. They will not drink much water at
work because they are only rarely allowed to leave the workbench to go to the
toilets. But it is a job, and their families will be delighted with even such a
meagre addition to the family budget.
This will be their destiny for at least three years. At 14 or 15 they will be
married off to whatever man will have them without a dowry and, unless they are
unusually fortunate, spend the next years bearing babies and struggling to
Unless, that is, something happens to break the cycle. And, in fact,
Koruna, Sokina and Dorifa have just this month been given the opportunity to
attend school for at least one year to learn to read and write. Following a
previous appeal, enough sponsors came forward to cover the costs. None of these
girls has ever had more than a few months of schooling before. Now they will be
paid Tk 800 a month to go to school instead of to the garments factory! The
girls are delighted at the prospect and their parents are happy too, for there
will be no loss of income to the family.
In the middle of January a new class opened at the Nyanagar AG Church School.
A new teacher is being sponsored under this same scheme just to take these older
uneducated girls, avoiding the embarrassment of their being part of a much
younger Class 1 student group. At last the girls will have the opportunity to
learn, for the first time, skills that can enable them to take a measure of
control over their own lives.
But there is room for more!
The positive response by sponsors so far shows that we could now extend the
scheme to more candidates. Possible choices: eleven year old Lehaymi, twelve
year old Tashlima and her 13 year old sister Mirani, twelve year old Dolly, ten
year old Labia (sister of Dorifa), and nine year old Matuda , Ruma and Lubbly.
They all need schooling.
Older girls will attend the Nyanagar AG Church School. I am arranging to
sponsor a new teacher for a new class of beginners. This will cost Tk 1800 per
month, but it will mean that the girls will start learning together and without
the embarrassment of being part of an infant group in Class 1. The class is
beginning this weekend, all being well.
Some of the younger children should be able to attend the Swedish-maintained
Nyanagar Christian School and discussions are presently being held to see if
this is a practical alternative. It should also be possible to sponsor these
younger children at a reduced rate per month, taking into account their family
situations and earning potential.
We need more sponsors!
There are dozens of children working in Gulshan-2 market and living in the
local slums who have had no schooling, many of them girls. I spoke to Tashlima
last night. "Yes, I can write," she said proudly. "I can write my
name and my sister's name and my father's name." "Can you write a
letter?" She shook her head and grinned shamefacedly. "No, I can't
write anything else." Educational sponsorship could empower such girls and
give them a chance to begin to shape their own lives - instead of being
controlled by others.
If you could offer at least 12 months support for a teenager (Tk800 ie USD15
per month, or for a younger child Tk 400 per month), please contact me as soon
as possible and I will take up your offer when a suitable child is found. We
already have a sponsor to provide a teacher for one year at a monthly cost of
around Tk 1800, but we will shortly be looking to employ a second. If you might
like to help in that way please let us know.
Beyond that, there is also the opportunity to give a gift for the purchase of
books, bags, and the general practical needs that these children have. We need a
fund for educational purchases and further help as required. We are finding that
many children are lacking basic clothing and shoes in which to attend school.
Some need to have a school uniform. Most can't afford pencils, books or a school
bag. A new beginner is probably costing an average of Tk 300-400 to place.
Please inform me how you would like your gift or sponsorship to be used. If
you also give me an address (preferably email) I will update you regularly on
progress being made and how your gift is making a difference.
Future plans: Once the most vulnerable of the girls we know has been placed
in school we would like to extend the scheme to young boys too, some of those we
know lead a miserable life struggling to earn a living on the streets. The
younger category can be, at little cost, fed into local primary schools to
receive some basic education. The older ones, several sleeping on the streets
and without parental care, need shelter and some vocational training too. There
is also a desperate need for shelter, education and training for the large
number of young mothers and abandoned wives presently begging for a living on
We shall be urgently looking at the possibility of setting up a shelter/help
centre in Gulshan in the near future.
Donations in the UK may be made direct to a "Love
Bangladesh"account we have set up for this purpose at Lloyds TSB Bank,
please email us for the sort code and account details. Donations can also be
made from anywhere in the world by credit card - email us for details.
Mike and Rosey Whittles
c/o Grace International School
House 78(B) Road 23 Gulshan-1
This Issue's Sponsors
Ebenessel Intl School - Another Educational Option for Expatriate Families
Starting next year, Ebenessel International School (EIS) in Bashundhara, also
known as the Korean School, is opening its doors to expatriate families of all
nationalities. We provide an American educational curriculum, based on a
Christian perspective, covering primary (grades 1-6) and secondary (grades 7-12)
levels. Currently EIS has eight excellent teachers, two Canadian and six
Bangladeshi, teaching 32 Korean and Indian students. For next year, EIS will be
recruiting more Western teachers and is planning to expand enrolment to over 40
The curriculum consists of English medium instruction each morning for all
students, and national instruction each afternoon for students to study their
own language, history, etc.
Fees are very reasonable and bus transportation is provided.
If you are an expat family interested in finding out more about EIS for your
child, please contact Paul Lee, Principal, tel 8812922 / 8911254, email email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Employment Opportunity for Coordinator and English Teachers for EIS
EIS would like to recruit a Coordinator and English Teachers with the
o Foreign passport holder o Native English speaker o At least one year
teaching experience o ESL, MK and International school experience & training
is an advantage o Expat spouses are encouraged to apply o Women are preferred
for the teaching positions
For more information, please contact Paul Lee, Principal, tel 8812922 /
8911254, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contemporary Bengali Instruction
Nondita Chowdhury offers Bengali instruction to individuals and groups:
+Course 1, Survival Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions focusing on speaking and
+Course 2, Basic Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions with the introduction of reading
+Individual instruction - tailored to students needs
Courses run for five days per week over four weeks and cost Tk6000 per person
for groups of two to seven, or Tk7500 for one person, includes all materials.
Individualized instruction is also available at Tk400/hour per person. Ms
Chowdhury was principal of Heed Language Centre (1991-97), and has over 20 years
experience in Bengali instruction. Lessons given at her school in Gulshan or
learner's home or office. For more information, call Ms Chowdhury at 8020650, or
email email@example.com , include your name
& telephone number.
Ethnic Bandarban Hilltract Tours: Specials for Dhaka Expats
January is the last month to enjoy our introductory 'Expat Specials' -- book
this month in groups of 4-6 for tours anytime in 2001 and get up to 25%
discounts! Profits go directly to indigenous projects. Join us in the Bandarban
Hills in southeastern Bangladesh and visit the easygoing tribal people, boat
along the Sangu river, walk through verdant hills, stay in a hilltop cottage,
imbibe a little moonshine, and sway to hypnotic Mru music! Contact Reng Yu, your
tour coordinator, anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
or mobile 018-318345, or click http://www.bangladeshecotours.com.
Book Review: "We Live in Chittagong, Bangladesh - A Personal
Edited by Jodi Smith and Caroline Bauer. Chittagong International Women's
Have you ever wanted some articles to give to people at home to show what
living in Bangladesh is like? Need encouragement to write your own stories of
life in the developing world? Ever wondered how expatriates are viewed by
Bangladeshis? Are you going to live in Chittagong or know someone who is?
If so, then this book is for you.
When the book first arrived, several of the articles caught my eye
immediately - the anecdotal discussion of how to handle the beggars we all
encounter, different opinions on wearing salwar kameez, and one entitled "A
Professional Man" (about a rock breaker). This is no ordinary guide to
shopping and leisure activities. There are personal musings, some philosophical,
some funny, some sad (and some with which I disagreed). There are affirmations
for activities you might enjoy in Dhaka as well (I just love going to the
vegetable market at Gulshan-2!) Included are colorful descriptions of people,
their work, and the countryside, along with great personal experiences from
women of different nationalities. Plus, many of the stories gave me an
appreciation for living in Dhaka, while at the same time making me wish I could
live part of the year in Chittagong.
The second night I had the book, I started to read a few pages and ended up
finishing it in about an hour and a half. When done, I felt great about living
in Bangladesh and was inspired to get out exploring a bit more. Isn't that what
a good book is supposed to do for you? Educate, inspire and support? This guide
fits the bill. -Jo DeVries
More People To Gain Access To Micro-Credit - New Project Aims To Reach
Larger Numbers & The Poorest Of The Population
World Bank Media Release, Bangladesh Microfinance II, Dhaka January 18,
2001-The World Bank today approved a US$151 million IDA credit for a project to
improve and expand micro-lending in Bangladesh. The Second Poverty Alleviation
Micro-finance Project aims to increase access to credit and ensure
sustainability of the country's micro-lending programs.
"Providing micro-credit is one of the most effective means Bangladesh
has of directly improving the lives of its poorest people, especially
women," said Reazul Islam, the World Bank's team leader for the project.
"Since it began around 20 years ago, micro-lending has provided a path out
of dire poverty for millions of people in this country. With this project we
hope to reach more of those who have been left out or under-served so far, and
to ensure that micro-lending is sustainable into the future."
The project follows an earlier $105 million IDA credit provided in 1996. The
first micro-finance project helped provide micro-credit to about 2.2 million
borrowers by the time it closed on December 31, 2000. The project has had a
strong impact on poverty by helping to stabilize income and consumption,
improving quality of life (through increased access to clean water, and better
health and hygienic conditions), increasing school enrollment rates, and
enhancing family ssets. It has improved financial viability of partner NGOs who
retail microcredit, enabling them to seek part of their funding needs from the
financial market, allowing their gradual integration into the formal financial
Musicians & Performers Wanted For BAGHA Pub Folk & Blues Night
"We are putting together a programme of folk music and blues for Thu 15
Feb, and we are looking for community talent to participate. All kinds of folk
and blues accepted, but we want to avoid rock'n'roll, pop,
vaudeville/music-hall, jazz and opera. (These can be the subjects of future
events.) We want the event to resemble as closely as possible a typical pub folk
night. Don't worry if you can't play an instrument. If you know the songs and
you want to perform, we can find accompanying musicians. If you can offer a
two-song set for the programme please contact Tom Hunter at email@example.com
Events Calendar, Dhaka & Beyond
To have your Bangladesh-related event - in Dhaka or anywhere else in the
world - included in the next Event Calendar, please email the time, date, place,
description, and email contact address to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Tues 16 Jan 01.
All events are in Dhaka unless otherwise noted. Entry to some events is
restricted, eg to members - contact event organizers for more information.
Starts 19 Jan - Kid's Interclub Tennis Tournament.
Sun 21 January - UNWA newcomer's tea, 10.30am. Email email@example.com
Wed 24 Jan Chittagong - The British Council presents a poetry reading by
Sudeep Sen and emerging poets. At 6pm in the Chittagong Club Auditorium.
Thu 25 Jan - The Dhaka Caledonian Society Burns Night Celebration will be
held at the British High Commission Club from 7:30pm. Ticket price of GBP15 or
BDT1,300 includes welcome drink, hot buffet with table wine, disco and Scottish
dance music, competition and raffle with some traditional toasts and of course
the Haggis. For information and reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tue 30 Jan - Submission deadline for next issue of BICN.
Wed 31 Jan - The British Council presents a poetry reading by Sudeep Sen and
emerging poets. At 6pm in the British Council Auditorium.
** Early February & Beyond
February - Street Children's Party, BAGHA Club.
Thu 1 Feb - Caribbean Night at the BAGHA Club. 9pm. Tickets Tk350.
Fri 2 Feb - Annual ICDDR,B Endowment Fund Ball, Sonargaon Hotel.
Tk1500/person. Reserve a table of 10 now by contacting ICCDR,B External
Relations at 988-1626 or vbrooks@icddrb
. Raffle tickets @ Tk25, book of four @ Tk100 are available, contact loretta@icddrb
Wed 7 Feb - BWA Annual General Meeting at 3pm. Talk & photo exhibition -
details to be finalised at a latter date. Email email@example.com
10-11 Feb - The British Council presents, "State of Bengal," Asian
underground from the UK plus Miles and a fusion session with Dhaka classical
musicians. At 7pm in Osmani Hall. Admit cards Tk80 at British Council, British
Council Teaching Centre, Sagor Publishers Bailey Rd, Video Connection Gulshan,
Film Fair Video Dhanmondi.
Thu 15 Feb - Pub Folk And Blues Night at the BAGHA.
Fri 19 Feb - "Lady in Red" Valentine Dinner Dance, ARA
Wed 21 Feb - Shaheed Dibash (Government holiday)
Tue-Thu 6-8 Mar - Eid ul Azha (Government holiday, subject to moon)
Wed 7 Mar - BWA Monthly Meeting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat 17 Mar - Bangabandhu's Birthday (Government holiday)
Mon 26 Mar - Independence Day (Government holiday)
Digital South Asia Library
A project of the Center for Research Libraries with financial and other
support from multiple sources, the Digital South Asia Library will likely become
a major online resource for South Asia scholars. The site is very much still
under development, but there are some resources available. These include
pedagogical tools, photos and images, statistics, some bibliographies,
electronic books, and some related links. Anyone who studies South Asia will
want to bookmark this site and monitor its development. One of the complete text
offerings is a Bengali reader by Professor Edward Dimock. [Item contributed by
Always free in BICN - personal classified ads, this means ads to buy or sell
personal household items, to hire or place household staff. For security/privacy
reasons, ads contain only names and email addresses - residential addresses and
phone numbers are not normally published.
BLENDER WANTED - If you've got one you don't need anymore, or never really
got around to using, I'll buy it from you. Email gerry@mccb
WANTED TO BUY: Audio equipment: stereo hifi amplifier and loudspeakers. If
you have either for sale, email Tim@Expatria.every1.net
EMPLOYMENT SOUGHT: "Sukomar, my part-time roof-top gardener, is
available for additional part-time or alternative full-time employment as
chowkhidar, chowkhidar-cum-mali or mali. He has last been employed full-time in
mid-1998 and has a wife and two sons to support. He understands English quite
well, will ask for clarification if he does not understand, works reliably and
independently and has a very pleasant personality. He comes to work on his
bicycle, neatly dressed and can be particularly recommended for apartment
dwellers wanting special care for their potted plants etc. Email email@example.com
EMPLOYMENT SOUGHT: We will be moving from a large house with a garden to a
small flat. Hence, we have various staff that we will no longer be able to
employ. They ALL come with my highest recommendation for honesty and loyalty,
cleanliness, punctuality, reliability and genuine hard work. All have been in my
(or the company's) employ for up to 20 years. All speak very good English. For
more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
. 1. DILLIP - COOK/BEARER. Dillip can prepare a range of dishes and is extremely
quick to learn, reads and writes English and Bengali, handles shopping
efficiently and runs a scrupulously honest "kitchen book" . Washes,
irons and cleans the house well. Capable of cooking for a large gathering (50+)
with minimal guidance and little advance warning. He is quiet and non-intrusive,
easy to have around and deserves to continue in good, solid employment. 2.
JOYNEL - COOK/BEARER. Joynel began work for me as a bearer, having been with the
company for many years in this capacity. He has since become a good cook, and,
with guidance will quickly learn new dishes, producing tasty and well presented
food. His house duties are always carried out with care, as he is a very hard
worker. Joynel is absolutely reliable in every way. He is extremely pleasant and
adaptable, including babysitting (I have had every confidence in leaving Jake
with Joynel over the last 2+ years) Joynel works well in our busy, bustling
household and I hope to find him an excellent replacement. 3. CHOKU -
MALI/ASSISTANT BEARER/DAY GUARD. One of the most reliable and consistent of
company staff over the last 16 years. Helps inside the house enormously, doing
much of the housework when the other staff are away, scrubbing floors and
carpets etc, and turning his hand to butlering when there is a party. Cooks
simple dishes, makes bread etc. Marvellous with children, happily adapting to
cricket or basketball as needed. Tends the garden and does day guard duty. A
most pleasant man and an asset to any household. 4. TUKU - NIGHT GUARD. Flawless
record in always being present for duty and, to my knowledge, doing his duty
well. A loyal member of staff for many years.
FOR SALE: Quarter size child's violin in excellent condition, Tk12,000. High
quality imported wooden high chair with tray, very good condition Tk3000 (new
equivalent would be ~Tk5000); USA child carseat (for older baby up to about four
years old), excellent condition functionally but well worn in appearance, Tk3000
(new equivalent would be ~Tk4000).. Email email@example.com
WANTED TO BUY: A dehumidifier in good condition--either 110V or 220V. We live
in Chittagong but we could arrange to collect from Dhaka. If you have one for
sale, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscription, Advertising, & Other Details
BICN is a free email newsletter published first & third Wednesdays,
September to May, from Dhaka Bangladesh. Sara Bennett, Editor.
Contact Info - Email all inquiries & items to email@example.com
. BGD tel +880(2)988-1708, USA fax +1(978)418-8132, mail H28 R4 Blk C, Banani
Always Free -
- Personal ads to buy and sell personal items, hire/place household staff,
lost & found, sublets
- Community announcements
- Letters to the editor
- Press releases
- And of course subscribing!
Economical Ads -
- Offer your apartment/house/land for rent or sale
- List employment available or sought
- Offer products/services for sale
Ads cost only USD8 (Tk450) for up to 100 words, half price for repeats booked
with the original order. Payment accepted in Taka cash/check, USD cash/check
with payment pick up for reasonable Dhaka addresses, or by Credit Card, secure
payment on & offline available worldwide!
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