About three weeks ago, I walked into a room with a bench on one side and a desk on the other. There was another room in the back with a curtain partition for privacy. There was a doctor on the other side consulting with a patient I walked back into the waiting room, there was a mother there that had come in with her baby. The baby was strangely silent, and the mother was mentioning that her child had a constant fever and she didnâ€™t know what was wrong. This â€œroomâ€ that I had walked into was one of DCIâ€™s (Distressed Children & Infants International) clinics in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The clinic cares for and provides medical supplies and prescriptions to those cannot afford it and have nowhere else to go.
What led me to this clinic in Bangladesh was the Jolkona campaign I was a part of called the 12 Days of Giving. I decided to promote a health related project in Bangladesh and chose to support the DCI sponsored clinic, as public health is an interest of mine. I had never raised funds for anything prior to this experience nor had I promoted any type of project before! To be perfectly honest, I was attempting to pick whichever project I thought would be easily marketable so I would have a remote chance of fulfilling the looming $1,000 target goal. Not until I had a chance to visit the clinic and an orphanage also sponsored by DCI, and actually see those that were positively affected by the money raised, did I realize what $1,000 in Bangladesh really means.
Think about the anxiety that you feel when youâ€™re sick for a couple of days and donâ€™t know what is wrong. Not fun, huh? Now multiply this feeling times 100 to emphasize what toll that it takes on those â€œlivingâ€ on the streets of Dhaka. The grave impact is felt not only because they do they not know whatâ€™s wrong with them when theyâ€™re sick, they know that they absolutely cannot walk into a hospital and get help, and whatever they have will probably only get worse.
There are 450,000 children who live on the streets of Bangladesh and 30,000 die everyday due to circumstances of poverty. Through the DCI orphanage and with very little money, about 20 of these children are taken off the streets and are provided with healthcare, a good education, food, and shelter. With $10, a baby is provided with doctor care and relief. As demonstrated by the patients and kids at the DCI projects, a couple of dollars does not mean much to us here, but can most likely save a life and provide a child with a chance of having chance to enjoy a view of what life without poverty could really beâ€¦a reality.
I will never think about this project, these children, or $1,000 the same way again.
Maheen Aman is the Campus Outreach Lead for Jolkona and is extremely passionate about global health and development. She recently went on a global adventure that took her to Bangladesh and Turkey. This is a snapshot of one of her adventures.