25 Apr

An Orphan From the Camps Finds His Way to Montreal, Canada

An Orphan From the Camps Finds His Way to Montreal, Canada I received a gift on Friday night, one unlike any gift I’d ever received before featuring a very special visit by someone not just from kilometers away, but from another world altogether: Mohammed Irfan Khan. I’d met Irfan twice previously under different circumstances. Our first meeting was in 2009, while he was teaching kids at an OBAT tutorial center in the camps. I visited the classroom he was teaching at and had fun...

17 Apr

Snowball in the Camps

Snowball in the Camps There’s just something very Canadian about snow. When I think back to the start of this journey, a very small initiative with 28 kids, and subsequently cobbling together some more relatively small-scale humanitarian projects, it didn’t occur to me at the time where it would all lead to over 15 years later. The needs on the ground, needless to say, seemed never-ending. But by continuing to stay engaged all these years later, and with a deliberate, carefully crafted systematic...

05 Jan

RIP Fahmida

RIP Fahmida I met Fahmida back in 2009. She was visually-impaired and lived alone in a small hut. Her husband and children did not survive the trials of time and conflict; she languished alone for close to four decades in a squalid displaced population camp. Her home was a tiny 8′ x 10′ space; the walls looked like they would barely hold in the next monsoon flooding. I sat beside her on the wooden structure that was her bed, my physical discomfort...

03 May

An Unexpected Journey

An Unexpected Journey There I was, being hugged by a young boy not more than 8, his cheek on my cheek. He was a Rohingya orphan, far removed from his land, his community, his family. An orphan whose childhood innocence had been cruelly snatched and was left longing for the care, love and company of his departed parents. It was four years ago that Sister Sabria and I were in Malaysia visiting many orphanages housing Rohingya children. We observed that...

26 Apr

First Dignity, Then Charity

First Dignity, Then Charity Ramadan is upon us once again, and during this month Muslims are encouraged to give generously to those with less.  We fast during the day from food and water in the hopes that we will be grateful, remember to be humble, and give generously from what we have. Ramadan is a bit like a bottle of heart sanitizer, getting rid of diseases that might have infected it from one year to the next. But while we are here, cleaning...

16 Apr

How our eyesight restoration program opened my eyes

How our eyesight restoration program opened my eyes OBAT Canada posted this short video interview put together by students at one of the OBAT vocational centers- they did everything, including the subtitles in English. This product is amazing to see from our students, all from displaced population camps; it shows how OBAT has made – and continues to make – a difference, by imparting skills and bringing about a generation of leaders and changemakers. But the content of the video...

05 Mar

Hope Lives in the Rohingya Refugee Camps

Hope Lives in the Rohingya Refugee Camps The Hope of the Human Spirit Rohingya children in refugee camps Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, I had the opportunity to do volunteer work at a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh with OBAT Canada. There are approximately one million Rohingya refugees in these camps, the vast majority of them arriving to Bangladesh after violence erupted in August 2017. There are countless harrowing stories of torture and torment that haunt the inhabitants of the camps,...

23 Nov

Saving the Lives of Mothers and their Babies

Saving the Lives of Mothers and their Babies Six years ago, Mehwish and I decided to volunteer in the displaced population camps in Bangladesh. Going into the project, we had a really simple goal: conduct a survey to understand more about the population and find out what their needs are. And yet somewhere along the journey we established a deep emotional attachment to the work and people and to this day wish we can do more to help them. It was the...

04 Nov

My Dream Come True…13 Years in the Making!

My Dream Come True…13 Years in the Making! Thirteen years ago, I was in Bangladesh for the very first time and ended up visiting some displaced population camps that I had read about. Seeing the condition of the people, it was impossible not to help. I was particularly motivated to help orphans in that forgotten part of the world. Prior to that, I’d tried to support orphans through existing charities, but was consistently disappointed by the experience. On one occasion, I even...