Moving to Bangladesh
…I’m moving to Bangladesh!
I’ve been so hesitant to share, only because it hasn’t sunk in as my soon-to-be-reality. I visited Bangladesh in March (early this year, 2018) and after leaving the country I felt like it was one of the most confronting realities I had witnessed. The traffic was awful, the pollution at times unbearable, the poverty was widespread - one of the most densely populated countries was deeply felt. And while there was so much hardship all around me, I also felt a yearning to understand the strength of the young people, the resilience of women and mothers, among so many other perspectives. Each voice of courage touched me profoundly. People embraced me as a guest with such sincereness that it moved me to tears.
I wasn’t looking to move to Bangladesh, but after typing in “Communications” + “Asia” in a job search, I came across a university called Asian University for Women and by luck/fate/coincidence it was located in Bangladesh. I read about the organisation and felt a deep calling - it was a small university that is entirely dedicated to women’s education. When I left Bangladesh (and ended by journey in Asia), I remember thinking education + women could (really) change the world.
The young women admitted to the university aren’t necessarily selected because they're the best with top grades, but, because of a unique interview process, they demonstrate leadership, courage, empathy - qualities that would make them positively impact or transform their communities and the world. The institution describes the young women as "coming from a challenging background who have the potential for emerging as change-makers". A portion are refugees, others from war-torn countries like Yemen. I get to work with these young women and communicate (to the world) their stories strength and coming to education, often against the odds.
If you want to read about an inspirational person, the founder of Asian University for women, Kamal Ahmad, has a touching story of how the university came to be. He carries a list of prestigious recognition, including those that acknowledge his contribution to international development, peace, education, and leadership.
Bangladesh, for me personally, is a place of hardship and hope. I hope that through the hardships I will grow and through the hope-filled moments I will be reminded of our extraordinary capabilities to create change, redefine social norms, transform industries to be clean, ethical, fair.
Faces2Hearts, the journey around Asia, changed me in many ways. One of the most profound impacts was the deep love I grew for the continent.
I’m go off to dive deeper into this love for the Asia, and in this next 1 year (and maybe more) I will call Chittagong, Bangladesh, home. I would love for you to continue to be a part of this adventure - maybe you are unfamiliar with South Asia (like me) and you would learn something along the way? Or maybe you think I’m crazy and would like to share in some of the craziness? Or even better yet, you plan to travel this part of the world, in which case my home is yours!