Village to Village in Bangladesh

High up in the mountains of northwest Bangladesh, the small remote community of Shambhugani villagers -- until recently-- had no school, no sanitation, no medical help, no community development programs and little available water. Now they do, and they are ready to pass on what they have learned, built, and are experiencing to the neighboring village of Kulpotak, thanks to a number of life-changing programs designed and implemented by the humanitarian efforts of Conscience International and its partners.

Shambhugani became the model when Richard Sarker, Conscience International’s Vice President for Programs, determined to help those of his own native Bangladesh. He discovered a need and an opportunity and went to work in 2012. Shambhugani now has a school with a current enrollment of 165 students. There is a medical clinic, and a low tech sanitation system (it meets UNICEF/WHO guidelines) that is helping to reduce the high rate of childhood morbidity. Community development programs are up and running—a women’s empowerment program that has already trained 75 women for sewing and tailoring skills, and a goat raising program that is giving income-producing work to help support their families.This month leaders of both communities are meeting to tour Shambhugani and discuss plans to duplicate that village’s efforts that make sense for the people of Kulpotak, showing how neighborly cooperation and aid can transform conditions, lifting people out of poverty, building infrastructure, educating, training and providing jobs in areas that have known little of modern conveniences and opportunity.

This is not the first time the village of Shambhugani has reached out to help others in need, in spite of having so little themselves. When Nepal suffered its devastating earthquake in 2015, Shambhugani called an emergency council meeting and villagers saved back a portion of their daily rice in order to sell it in the marketplace and give the money ($30) to help others in Nepal, a real sacrifice. Now they are ready to share again.

But the work in Shambhugani is not over. School children come to school hungry and go home hungry. Now Sarker is on a quest to raise funds for a viable nutrition program so children can have alert minds and bodies for learning. That’s how YOU can help. If those with so little still reach out to help their neighbors, we can do it too.

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