Olveston School Fun Run 2014 – this Sunday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next ARBAN UK fund raising event is the Olveston School Fun Run this sunday. Come along and run or support the 1km and 5km fun run through the beautiful South Gloucestershire countryside, in view of the Severn Bridges.


Thank you




Quiz and curry night

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn November 2013 we held our second quiz and curry night fundraising evening. Well done to The Timelords who won with a very impressive score of 85.5 out of 100. Thank you all for the support, with £1200 raised.

Dais Training

misty1Dr. Tania Sarker Misty who works at the health centre organised this basic training with another senior physician Dr. Chandana. We hope to be able to organise further training in a hospital but this is proving difficult to do.

The following topics were discussed in-depth in the programme:

  • Problems faced during delivery of babies
  • actions and measures to be taken to solve problems
  • diabetes & High Blood pressure during Pregnancy
  • the steps of a normal delivery
  • equipment and materials required for handling delivery cases
  • practicing delivery with a ‘dame’
  • what to do when a pregnant mother needs to be sent to hospital

There were 8 participators from the community. Of those, 4 are serving as Dais, 3 as assistants and Rahima (Chair person of the Managing Committee of Health Care Centre) initiates and manages delivery cases. Of the 4 Dais, Sahida had experienced more than 200 delivery cases; Jarina Begam had handled 70, Jobeda Begam 60 plus and Sarupa Begam just 6 deliveries.

training1At the end of the training, all felt much more confident to carry out the work they do for women in the slum.

Nargis got a new life

nargisNargis, 25, narrowly escaped death during delivery of her third baby in September 2013. She came to Dhaka aged 10 in 1999 along with her family from the coastal district of Barguna as they had lost their homestead & belongings to river erosion. Once in Dhaka they made their home in Jheelpar Slum. She married a rickshaw puller called Zakir Hossain and successfully gave birth to two children. Nargis is a housewife and her family includes her mother; husband and the children. They live in a rented room of 10’ x 12’ sq. ft. and have to pay the rent of BDT 1,500 per month (there are no facilities – those are extra). Zakir is the only income source for the family and he earns, on and average, BDT 200 to 300 per day.

Nargis conceived her third baby and, being pregnant, she visited our clinic several times. She is one of 273 pregnant women who have received antenatal check-up & treatment since the clinic opened.  She also attended the monthly discussion sessions (along with 157 other women to date) entitled ‘Take care during the pregnancy period’.

As a precautionary measure she was advised by our doctor to have an ultra sound scan.   The scan showed that the baby was suffering from Hydrocephalus (build-up of fluid on the brain) and she was advised to return to hospital for the birth. However, her lack of education meant that she had not understood the problems her baby had and she did not show the scans to our doctor or attend the hospital again. She went into labour at home and the traditional birth attendants were unable to handle the delivery, as the legs arrived first and the (now dead) baby was left hanging due to the size of its head.

During this life threatening stage, the matter was brought to the attention of our doctor and as a result Nargis was immediately hospitalised in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.  Other members of the local community have, in partnership with our clinic, formed a ‘Health Volunteers Group’ and they organised a local collection to help fund her stay and transport to and from the hospital.  They managed to raise BDT 12,000!

The hospital managed to deliver the dead baby and saved Nargis’ life, so there is one less family in Bangladesh without a mother to care for them. She would have died a slow and painful death if our clinic had not existed.

There are of course, still lessons to be learned.  If Nargis had really understood what her scan had shown, the risk to her life would have been minimised and a traumatic birth avoided.  So we need to work even more closely with the mothers that we send for scans to ensure that they have been correctly interpreted.

Another area we are already working on is giving the traditional birth attendants very some basic training to try and remove some of the myths around child birth while arming them with some skills to deal with more difficult births.  There is a long way to go, but we are on the road and have helped many desperately poor people along the way.

The Olveston School Fun Run

finishThe Olveston School Fun Run, held in aid of ARBAN UK, is now in its third year. In 2014 the event will take place on Sunday 8 June with a 1K race on the school field for young children and a 5K off-road race for all ages. More information is at www.olvestonschoolfunrun.org

A thriving clinic

misty_at_workLast time I visited Dhaka I had to travel everywhere in an ambulance. This was because of the daily ‘hartals’, a uniquely Bangladeshi strike where some people work, some people don’t, a few people torch cars and parents get frustrated that their children can’t go to school. Apparently ambulances are not usually attacked during such strikes and therefore they are seen as a safe form of transport. The fact that there are many more ambulances on the roads during hartals appears to have escaped the notice of the demonstrators.

This time the situation is much calmer. I was told this was because politicians needed to sit in parliament to get paid, rather than stirring up trouble. I can’t say how true or untrue this is, but Dhaka is a quieter place whatever the reason. And so I was able to visit Jheelpur slum today without any worry of trouble.

The first thing I notice is the lovely new concrete pavement which the local council has provided. Gone is the muddy main path, even though it was raining heavily last night. I was told that such things will continue to be improved as there are local elections at the moment. The opposition is winning many seats but I am sure the number of votes in any particular slum has no relationship to the meters of concrete path laid.

The path somehow makes me feel sad. It is definitely an improvement but it also legitimises the slum and not in a good way. It says living in tin shacks, that’s fine and look, your children’s bare feet won’t be so muddy at the end of a day playing in the street! Of course when they go home to the tin shacks, the children are ankle deep in water which has just drained off the impervious concrete path, with the water nowhere else to go but the low lying homes. So much for improvements.

The clinic is much as I left it. Today there is no power. Unfortunately nothing unusual about this in Dhaka, but today it is so very hot and humid that just breath of air from the ceiling fans would be refreshing. Instead the lovely ladies of the slum, including Rahima, one of the community leaders, wave bamboo fans as if our lives depended on it. It’s also very dark, the grey sky threatening to open at any moment and very busy, hot bodies everywhere.

I feel lucky. I am not wearing a headscarf like Misty our wonderfully devoted doctor. She looks ready to collapse as she dabs at the sweat forming on her cheeks. I know she has been unwell and I ask how she is feeling. ‘Oh’, she says, ‘not bad, but I can’t take time off as the people in the slum need me. It is the time for seasonal illness as the wet season is coming and when I came back last week I have more than 30 people waiting. I can’t leave these people’. The seasonal illnesses are rashes, infections of the skin, respiratory problems all connected to the ever increasing temperature and humidity. The wet season cannot come too soon. I explain to Misty that she won’t be able to help if she is ill, but her commitment means others always come first.

scalesOne reason I am visiting today is to present a set of baby weighing scales, donated by a supporter in the UK. Misty is almost overcome as she thanks me. She really needs to keep an eye on the weight of babies as malnutrition and infection can cause weight loss very quickly, often leading to severe problems and sometimes death.  Again I feel terribly humbled that we have created this little clinic and are able to change people’s lives.

My discussion is cut short with Misty as she explains the queue is growing and if I don’t mind she needs to see them. But I am happy to see the clinic thriving and send a text to the UK, where a fund raising second hand sale is in progress, to tell them my resolve is renewed – we have to, we must continue to support this little clinic. I think theirs was too.

Milsted Langdon LLP run the Bristol 10k on behalf of ARBAN UK


Chartered Accountants Milsted Langdon LLP is aiming to mark its quarter-century by raising £25,000 for charity through a wide range of events during 2013.  ARBAN UK has been lucky enough to benefit from this philanthropic decision as, following nominations from their team members, they chose to run the Bristol 10k on behalf of ARBAN UK.  There were seven team members running on 5th May.  Of the seven, only three had ever run this distance before and most said they couldn’t run around the block prior to starting their training.  Following top quality comaraderie and banter during their training, they did really well with all seven completing the course and with very good times (from 43 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes).  After completing the run one of the team members said “I think we all enjoyed it and it helped me keep going knowing we were raising money for such a good cause, but I’m not sure anyone’s lining up for the half marathon just yet!”

If you, your work colleagues, or your friends would like to help us raise funds to keep our clinic in Dhaka open, then please do make contact with us and we will do all we can to help you.

Sally Greenland

ARBAN UK Committee Member

Project update Presentation – November 2012

This presentation was shown at the ARBAN fund raising dinner in November 2012 to demonstrate the progress made in Jheelpur Slum.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/65678994 ]