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United Commercial Bank Ltd. supports AMDA Rohingya Response

Publication date:2018-11-14
 
United Commercial Bank Ltd. supports AMDA Rohingya Response

At the time when AMDA was about to launch AMDA Rohingya Response in October 2017, the driving force behind the project was United Commercial Bank Ltd. (UCB), a leading private bank in Bangladesh, which helped consolidate the financial foothold of the program. Founded in 1983, UCB has been a main player in the financial sector of the nation.

While an increasing number of humanitarian organizations were trying to access the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, at the time, the Bangladeshi government was restricting the entry of foreign aid givers. Having been a government-registered organization, AMDA Bangladesh was one of the very first bodies to start working in the camp. Our obstacle, however, was to prove to the government the organization had enough funds to launch its activities. It was then that the donation from UCB greatly helped AMDA obtain the approval from the authority to initiate its project. Simply put, it could not have happened so smoothly without the earnest assistance of UCB.

It is said that UCB has been the very first bank to aid an NGO among all 52 banks in Bangladesh. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Anisuzzaman Chowdhury, the Chairman, Executive Committee of UCB, AMDA has so far received support from UCB in a series of AMDA activities including the founding of Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH). Serving as a founding member of the hospital, coincidentally, Mr. Chowdhury had been a high school classmate with Dr. Junaid of AMDA Bangladesh. This fate has led him to understand the philosophy of AMDA well, not to mention leading him to render support to AMDA Rohingya Response.

This time, we had a great fortune to interview Mr. Chowdhury with Dr. Jonaid’s kind presence.

Q: What made you decide to support AMDA?
A: As Bangladeshis, we have experienced the Bangladesh War of Independence. Dr. Jonaid and I were both only 11 years old at the time and Dhaka was a fierce battleground. Naturally, a lot of people fled to India to seek refuge. We had no food and many people got separated from their families. As you see, our life back then was no different to that of the current Rohingya’s.

The memories from that time have been engraved in our minds. Of course, the Rohingyas didn’t grow up in our nation but they are Bengalis like us. I didn’t have a choice to not support those who were running for their lives without possessing a nationality. Bangladesh is often cited as one of the most impoverished nations in the world. And indeed, many of our people are economically challenged. However, I had the urge to extend a helping hand in the midst of the foreign entry restrictions the government had imposed. I thought, “Who else could offer help?” I felt the sense of responsibility.

Q: Had you supported refugees or disaster relief in the past?
A: When the serious flood struck Chittagong (southeast) in 1991, I immediately came back from the U.K where I was studying at the time. I helped provide relief goods with my father who was very keen to offer help. I still remember clearly the appalling views in which there were dead bodies lying around on the road. But I knew I had to move on and carried on with the relief.

Q: You also provided a donation in the latter half of the program. Why was that?
A: As I received the activity report for the first half of the program from AMDA Bangladesh, I learned what assistance the refugees was benefitting from and how the funds were used. I was also able to understand under what environment the doctors had been working. I felt AMDA Bangladesh was properly fulfilling its accountability.

It is wonderful that AMDA staff have been joining forces with the ground team from different parts of the world. People come from Japan and elsewhere to work with us Bangladeshis to help those in need. It is my sincere wish that AMDA continues to work for the Rohingyas because not remembering what the Rohingyas have been going through is like forgetting our own history. The independence we cherish in Bangladesh today exists upon the tragedy in the past. I truly think that we need to do what we feel we must.
    •  GPSP Multi-National Medical Mission (Peace Building)
    •  Bangladesh
    •  Myanmar
    •  2018
    •  Mid-Long Term Project
    •  for the Rohingya Refugees

 
 
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