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Recently, Prof Golam Mostofa an educator and also former Member of Parliament joined Rabiul Islam to participate in the One Student One Tree program at Bluebell School. The program is designed to engage children in responding to climate change. Before planting the trees, the guests of honour reviewed the students’ art and awarded small prizes.

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Canadian journalist Stephanie Nolen recently wrote about Community Health Workers for the New York Times. She describes the role of the CHW in various countries by profiling the daily activities of several women. Nolen also explains how the significant public health impact of CHWs is not matched by their pay. She quotes the head of an advocacy organization, “Community health workers in countries like Rwanda and Liberia are treating half of malaria cases, they’re doing huge feats of curative care, of promotive care, of preventive care — and yet the vast majority are not paid or supported.”

OFP currently operates a health screening clinic to serve the Balagram community. Many people, particularly elders with chronic illness such as diabetes of heart disease, benefit from this accessible service close to home. We would like to expand this health program by training more front-line health workers at OIST. As with the current training programs in civil engineering and computer technology, Government of Bangladesh has developed an authorized training program for paramedics. While this is our next priority, we presently lack the funding to start any new program and would welcome donor support to begin the approval and planning process for this health care training initiative.

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The first formal orientation of OfP Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) students was held on September 14, 2023 at the OIST building in Balagram.

Prof Golam Mostofa, himself an educator and also a former Member of Parliament, attended as Guest of Honour. Prof Mostofa has visited OIST previously and is an important supporter from the wider community. He welcomed all the participants with flowers (to OIST Math Instructor Kalyani Roy in the photo, with Bluebell Head Teacher Altaf behind).

Rabiul Islam presided over the orientation. OIST students and their parents, teachers and staff members participated in the orientation. The speakers all spoke of the importance of technical and vocational education for employment, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. In this rural community where many adults do not complete higher secondary school, OIST is a critical resource for improving lives.

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