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Graham Arthurs, (Consultant Anaesthetist, Maelor Hopsital, has visited Bangladesh at least once every year since 1999, initially as an external examiner for the Royal College of Anaesthetists, London:
I have met a number of people who are like minded to help their few citizens. In 2003 with a local anaesthetist, Prof Iqbal, we set up an ITU nurse training program assisted by a Rotary Matching grant, in a county that has no post basic nurse training. For some 10 years I have worked with Dr Nezam Ahmed to establish a palliative care service that last year opened a dedicated ward in a Dhaka teaching hospital (BSMMU). Outside medical projects I have work with Dr KP Das to sponsor a number of able, but poor, university students. I have also become involved in supporting needs in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, including villages and a secondary school in Rangamati.
In 2009 Graham was involved in the set up of a charity; ‘Children in Bangladesh’ to formalise the basis for funding. Graham worked with three other trustees to transfer money directly to Dr KP Das, Dr Nezam or Prof. Iqbal depending on the project
About the project
The Chittagong Hill tracts in SE Bangladesh are home to some of the poorest villages of ethnic Chinese people.
The village involvement started by providing all weather sheds for weaving; with looms, initial training and a supply of cotton. Information about the shed in one village spread by word of mouth and we have now funded 5 sheds. To this has been added money for primary school teachers, hens, pigs and tube-wells.
In January 2011 Graham was invited by a lady who had been brought up in Khayang (about 20km outside Bandarban) to visit her village to help the women’s cooperative. Through this lady and a local Rotarian Ahmed Farooque and Dr KP Das we have assessed some basic needs of this village.
Graham applied to FMS for help in supporting projects in Khayang and FMS have sponsored 4 tube wells. These wells are sunk to between 100 and 150 feet. By making 4 wells over an area no one well is “over pumped”. This ensures that the soil acts as a natural filter to ensure clean water. With a ready supply of water the villagers become healthier and it is possible to grow more crops, rear hens, pigs and goats and plant a fruit farm of banana, coconut, orange and other cash crops.
In addition; a large meeting room is to be built and used as a school room and house weaving and sewing machines, once ownership of the land is with the women’s co-operative. Once they have easy water we will provide more pigs, hens and saplings.