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During a recent visit by BHP Directors, OfP Founder Rabiul Islam organized a community dialogue on health care services in Balagram village. Those attending were mostly elderly men and women with chronic pain from a lifetime of field labour plus chronic illness such as hypertension and diabetes. They told us that when they need medical care, they never use the local services because the staff do not provide good treatment, disrespect them, and demand bribes. Instead, the villagers bypass two nearby towns and go to a private hospital in the divisional capital. Due to cost and distance, however, they often do not complete or renew medication or make follow-up visits (e.g. for physio).

OfP already operates OIST Health Centre, an extremely popular screening clinic where volunteers provide simple tests for people suffering from chronic illness. This recent community dialogue, helped us identify potential services that could be offered by the OIST Health Centre in the future

1.       Expanded chronic illness program for e.g. diabetes, heart, respiratory, kidney disease

2.       Navigation to assist patients to find appropriate care providers

3.       Programs for people with chronic pain

4.       Cooling center when air temperature is dangerously high

5.       Primary school health and wellness education programs

In the longer term, we hope to supplement the volunteers staffing the health centre by training and hiring local youth as health care workers. As funds permit, we will develop these ideas into programs to serve this vulnerable population. We welcome your financial support for our health care programs.

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Country-wide exams are a requirement for students studying civil engineering and computer technologies at Oasis Institute for Science and Technology. At the end of each school year, the Bangladesh government issues these standardized tests to assess students’ progress with the national curriculum for each subject. In recent exams, OIST students in both programs performed extremely well, with a pass rate of 85% for first-year students compared to an average passing rate of 25% in the seven other polytechnic colleges in the area. For second year students, the passing rate was 84% compared to 33% elsewhere. Looking only at the highest grades, 31% of first year and 63% of second year OIST students scored over 3.25 out of a possible 4.0, compared to averages of 9% and 14% at the other colleges.  Congratulations to the students for their good work.

Congratulations also to OIST faculty who prepared the students so well. We are grateful for this highly dedicated group, who also make extra effort outside class time to coach students in professional behaviour and English, which are not covered in the required curriculum. During a spring 2024 site visit, OFP Founder Rabiul Islam and BHP Directors John Richards and Alex Berland met with faculty at OIST. When asked about their priorities for OIST, the faculty mentioned computer hardware and software, classroom furniture and materials-testing equipment for the skills lab.

OIST supports a major goal of the Bangladesh Health Project by creating the conditions for healthy lives through professional education for youth in the poorest division of Bangladesh. Starting a private non-profit college is a big task, however. Each year as students progress to new learning challenges, we need to purchase more sophisticated equipment for the skills labs. We rely on donor contributions to purchase learning tools and equipment for the civil engineering and computer technologies programs. If you would like to support development of these training resources,  please visit our donations page or contact us directly.

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Bangla or Bengali uses 29 consonants and 14 vowels as well as many combined vowels

According to UNICEF, Bangladesh ranks among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest levels of child marriage. Background characteristics such as poverty, living in a rural area, and less education make early marriage and childbirth more likely. In our recent survey of families living near Bluebell School, we learned that about 60% of the parents of young children could not read or write. In addition to being unable to help with schoolwork, many parents may be more interested in sending their children to work or into marriage than to school. The head teacher at Bluebell recently persuaded one family to allow continued schooling for a Bluebell graduate now in Grade 8 at a nearby government school. OfP supports initiatives to keep female students in secondary school such as bursaries to poor families and assistance with costs for textbooks and fees. Please contact us if you would like to contribute to operation of OfP’s primary and pre-primary education programs or to individual support for secondary and post-secondary students.

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