You Are Never Alone Bangladesh began with an email from Mahmudul Karim Rubel of Design Bangladesh, a non-profit organization working for a better Bangladesh asking YANAF to bring Caring Coins to the children of Bangladesh to remind them that they have not been forgotten by the world.
He believed our visit and the Caring Coins could give them hope for the future. We thought…“Wouldn’t it be great if we could connect the students here with the students in Bangladesh with the Caring Coins being a tangible reminder of the caring connection?” We did it! And we did it together…
With Rubel’s help, we designed a card with the words “Tumi Kokhono Eka Nao” which means “You are never alone” in Bengali. Students here signed the cards and attached them to the Caring Coins for the students in Bangladesh.
School administrators, faculty and students in Vermont were pleased to have the opportunity to connect with students in Bangladesh. GNAT-TV a Public Access Station in Manchester, Vermont made a video with our Vermont students saying “Hello Bangladesh”. Students and our YANAF senior volunteers attached the cards to 4,000 Caring Coins for us to bring to Bangladesh.
On Saturday, March 13th, Salley and Betsy (YANAF Board Members) and Chris, a college student left for Bangladesh with 4,000 Caring Coins.
Rubel and his staff coordinated an amazing itinerary for us starting with a press conference. We then visited five schools including a school for disabled children. At each school students greeted us with smiles, words of welcome, handshakes and beautiful flowers…
Our message is: “You and the students in America and everywhere are our future…You can make a difference in this world…reach out to each other…learn about each other…connect with each other.” The students listened as Chris talked about his dreams for the future and read questions written by the students in America which were readily answered. The students loved the video with students from Vermont saying “Hello Bangladesh!” They enthusiastically responded with “Hello America!”. In conclusion, we explained how students had signed the cards attached to the Caring Coins they were receiving. The response was amazing.
Each school prepared a Welcome Program where the students sang and danced for us. One of the songs repeated over and over again was “We shall overcome” which brought tears to our eyes. Chris was invited to join in the entertainment and dance with the students which he did. The door was open to the caring connection…
We also shared Caring Coins with homeless children living in a park; children at a girls’ orphanage and a boys’ orphanage. The Caring Coins were always a big hit. When we returned to the two orphanages the following day, the children came running out to the vans wearing their coins around their necks. Some of the girls drew pictures for us with the words like “today I am not alone”.
Our itinerary also included a visit to a TV studio; a garment factory; visits to a historical village, museums, and an Archaeological dig that dated back to at least 3rd century B.C. And a “football” game between our Design Bangladesh team and the local football team. The entire town came out for the game. Our own Chris made two goals to win the game.
Yes, we did it! Our dream for a caring connection between our students here and the students in Bangladesh has started…Our Caring Coins went very quickly. We sent 2,000 additional Caring Coins and cards which Rubel and his staff distributed for us. The Caring Coins solidify this caring connection as seen in the hope in the faces of our students signing the cards attached to the Caring Coins and in the faces of the students receiving the Caring Coins.
In our words…“Our experience in Bangladesh is difficult to put it into words. Pictures say more than we can express. The strongest impression we have of Bangladesh is that of the people and how welcoming and friendly they were to us. We shall especially remember the children, the joy in their eyes, their eagerness to learn more about us…how they wanted to have their pictures taken with us…and how they wore the Caring Coins around their necks. Although there is great poverty and problems in Bangladesh the people have a very strong love of family and their country and hope in their hearts. The people of Bangladesh and the memories of our trip will remain in our hearts forever…”
—Salley, Betsy, and Chris
When we returned from Bangladesh we couldn’t help but want to do something more for the children and people of Bangladesh whose needs are so great…the homeless children in the park, the children in the orphanages…We asked Rubel if he thought we should expand our mission beyond that of caring, connection and hope…he had seen the response to our message and the Caring Coins.
Rubel replied, “You ask about sending funds to buy foods etc…You are on a mission with the message of caring and hope for humanity that You are never alone. You have to be steady in your mission with the Caring Coins and spread your dream to the world. We are lucky that your dream tour is starting from Bangladesh.”