OFP head, Rabiul Islam, reports that the Oasis Institute for Science and Technology has now enrolled its first two “batches” of students to the diploma programs in Computer Technology and Civil Engineering (photo). Tuition fees are modest, about $35 CAD per month. Four of the thirty-two students have tuition waivers, including two Bluebell graduates. OFP has hired qualified faculty with a very modest budget topped up by contributions from BHP. Over time we are hoping that OIST tuition will cover all operating costs. In the meantime, we welcome your contributions, We spend 100% of all donations that we receive on projects in Bangladesh, using BHP director donations for our minimal administration costs.

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Our Dhaka colleague, Dr. Nazmul Huda, has shared a report on the effect of Covid on children’s education in Bangladesh. When the pandemic first hit, concern initially focused on girls being forced into marriage, as struggling families tried to reduce their costs by marrying off their daughters. Now however, most of those missing from the classrooms are adolescent boys who have become wage earners for their families (photo shows family breaking bricks for concrete aggregate).

Donations from BHP supporters tackle these problems directly: Since Covid started, OFP has provided food aid to the ultra-poor in Nilphamari District. After the government closed all schools, Bluebell teachers took readers and other learning materials to students in their homes. OFP also awards scholarships to deserving but needy high school students (young woman standing in photo is a straight "A" high school student). Several OIST students have also been awarded tuition waivers to enroll in vocational training that will prepare them for decent jobs.

BHP’s long-time sponsor, Mid Main Community Health Centre, moved into a brand-new purpose-built clinic this month. The new premises are close to Mid-Main’s former home on Main Street in Vancouver. That building was satisfactory but near the end of its life and certainly not ideal for working under Covid conditions. Mid-Main’s Executive Director Irene Clarence led the entire CHC team through a planning process with the architects so the new space is designed around patients’ needs. “After two years of planning,” Irene says, “We are thrilled to have a new home that is so well-suited to the community health centre model of care.”