We are OBAT Helpers

WHO WE ARE

OBAT Helpers is a non-profit, 501(C) 3 organization committed to providing aid, support, education and economic empowerment to the unfortunate, displaced forgotten population residing in camps in Bangladesh. Commonly known as stranded Pakistanis, they have been suffering silently in the countless slums or makeshift camps scattered across Bangladesh, for the past 40 years. They are unclaimed by both the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan. Altogether, there are about 300,000 people languishing in sixty-six makeshift camps in extremely poor conditions. They are a population living in abject poverty with no access to basic amenities or sanitation facilities.

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HEALTH.

Help us provide relief, comfort and assistance to those ailing from common medical conditions to life altering treatments.

EDUCATION.

Help us provide countless opportunities to bright young students, from pre-school through college, to expand their lives and transform their futures.

EMPOWERMENT.

Help us empower the forgotten through investing in self-financed businesses and self-sustainable community infrastructure projects.


2014 Top-rated nonprofits and charities    2015-top-rated-awards-badge-embed   gx-gold-97x71vetted-2015-small BADGE

2016 Ramadan spirit campaign
55%

2016 Ramadan campaign goal: $300,000

2015 Ramadan spirit campaign
100%

2015 Ramadan campaign goal: $280,000

Preschool project at GlobalGiving.org
81%
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OBAT Helpers Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity organization (Tax ID# 47-0946122)

Impact: The Facts

CATARACT SURGERIES PERFORMED
STUDENTS IN OUR EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS
FAMILIES SELF-EMPOWERED THROUGH OUR PROJECTS
SERVED EACH YEAR BY OUR HEALTH CLINICS

"The camp residents are like my extended family, and even though the trials they face are endured by them and them alone, I experience their suffering and pain vicariously."

ANWAR KHAN, PRESIDENT OF OBAT HELPERS

Become an OBAT Helper

Adopt a Project

Adopt a Project

Is there an OBAT Helpers project that really touches your heart? Now is your chance to reach out and make a difference! This four step program allows you to raise funds toward any of our projects and create an indelible impact on the lives of the unfortunate camp residents. You, along with your family and friends, can join hands and provide help by adopting educational programs, tutoring centers, health clinics, drinking water projects and individual families. You can also fund college scholarships and camp improvement projects.

Volunteer

Volunteer

OBAT Helpers benefits thousands of destitute camp residents in Bangladesh. Locally, it also holds an annual 5 K walk, benefiting a worthy cause in Indianapolis. This effort requires a lot of help in every possible way. Your support has played a fundamental role so far. Now, you have the chance to get directly involved by helping us with a skill or by simply giving your spare time. Sign up today to be an OBAT Helpers volunteer and use your free time for a great cause. Join H2O (Help to OBAT- a volunteer group of young professionals) or YFO (Young Friends of OBAT- a volunteer group aged 13 to 18). To volunteer, please reach us at contact@obathelpers.org.

OBAT Helpers Annual Trip

OBAT Helpers Annual Trip

Every year, the President of OBAT, Anwar Khan, makes an annual trip to the camps to monitor and evaluate the projects and to address issues and concerns faced by the residents. Throughout the years, several people including board members and volunteers have joined him in his yearly trip. You can be a part of this life changing experience too. Visit the camps to lend your talents. Teach skills, mentor students, tutor and train them to learn and perform better. Reach us at contact@obathelpers.org if you are interested in travelling to Bangladesh in the future. It is a great opportunity to organize a mission trip, lend your talents or spend valuable time learning a new culture, helping deserving people and seeing another world.

From the Blog

Meet Suleman who wants to empower women

Md Suleman class-9

When Suleman finishes his education, he hopes to become employed in a challenging position in a
growing company. He would like to get an MBA, which he feels will prepare him for success. Currently,
he is studying in grade nine and lives with his parents, Mohammad Sultan and Sima, and two other
siblings in Geneva Camp. His father earns about $77 a month working in a coal factory.
Suleman has set admirable goals. He wants to form an organization to work for the betterment of
women in society and to empower them with education, access to small business opportunities and
gender equality. He wishes he could do something about drug smuggling, the practice of dowry, and the
lack of education for women, all problems that plague the society around him. Suleman knows that one
day he will be able to do all this: he thinks that if he tries to do something from the bottom of his heart,
he will always succeed.
Suleman greatly admires Mr. Faisal, his math teacher at OBAT’s tutoring center, who teaches students
math in a way that’s easy to understand. He is also inspired by the work of Anwar Khan, OBAT’s founder:
it encourages him to help the poor. Like his other friends, he plays a mean game of cricket.

 

1. Md. Suleman class-9

THE AVERAGE COST PER YEAR OF SULEMAN’S EDUCATION FROM NOW UNTIL NINE YEARS LATER WHEN HE FINISHES  HIS MBA, IS $1,027. HELP SULEMAN GET HIS MBA DEGREE AND BRIGHTEN HIS FUTURE.  YOU CAN FUND ANY NUMBER OF YEARS YOU WISH TO. YOUR SUPPORT WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO HIM AS WITHOUT IT, HE CANNOT DREAM ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE OF POVERTY.

You should know …

Who is Anwar Khan, the Pakistani-Hoosier who inspires Suleman? Anwar is the Founder, President &
CEO of OBAT Helpers. He became a Helper in 2004, upon visiting a camp in Bangladesh and learning
about the dire situation that the Urdu-Speaking community had faced for decades. Anwar set the goal to
empower the long forgotten community and help them assimilate into mainstream society as strong,
productive members of their communities. He is a great role model for kids in the Urdu-speaking camps
… and for Hoosiers too.

2. Md. Suleman class-9

Meet Shirin who wants to be a teacher

Shirin Akter class-10

Shirin lives with her father Mohammed and mother Yasmin in Geneva Camp. Her brother is their
family’s only source of income. Working as a rickshaw driver,  he makes a monthly income of $38. This has to support seven family members. Shirin’s favorite person is her mother, and the personality she
greatly admires is the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She likes to watch television during her
free time, and also likes to go skipping with her friends. She is very proud of Bangladesh and thinks it is making great progress toward becoming fully digitized. Shirin loves green spaces and likes to plant trees. She loves children too and wants to teach English for a living and also study toward an MBA degree.

 

2. Shirin Akter class-10

THE AVERAGE COST PER YEAR OF SHIRIN’S EDUCATION FROM NOW UNTIL EIGHT YEARS LATER WHEN SHE FINISHES  HER MBA, IS $1,139 HELP SHIRIN GET HER MBA DEGREE AND BRIGHTEN HER FUTURE.  YOU CAN FUND ANY NUMBER OF YEARS YOU WISH TO. YOUR SUPPORT WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO HER AS WITHOUT IT, SHE CANNOT DREAM ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE OF POVERTY.

You should know …

The trees and green spaces Shirin loves are almost nonexistent in the overcrowded and squalid camp in
which she lives. This was what led to the first project by OBAT Think Tank, the camps’ youth-driven
initiative. “Make It Green, Keep It Clean” mobilized more than 50 young people to work with residents
of different neighborhoods in the camp to take responsibility for environmental cleanliness around their homes. It was a first step toward Shirin being able to live in a truly green space.

1. Shirin Akter class-10

Meet Sadia who wants to be a teacher

Sadiya Akter class-10

Sadia Akhter lives with her siblings and parents, Mohammed Monu and Razwana, in Geneva Camp. Her father works in a shop that sells biryani (a rice dish) and earns about $77 a month. Razwana has played a very important role in her children’s lives, and Sadia feels that it is because of her mother’s
encouragement and positive attitude that she can get through her problems with ease.

Sadia greatly admires the Bengali social reformer and feminist from a century ago, Begum Rokeya,
because she worked hard to provide women’s education. Sadia too would like to develop the education system … if she had the resources. She likes to listen to music, watch cricket matches, and play a local game known as “kanamachi,” a popular game for Bangladeshi children.

Sadia thinks it’s very important to respect her teachers. She says: “by respecting them, you can learn a lot and build your life.” She plans to become an English teacher and intends to put an end to the practice of dowry in her community.

 

2. Sadia Akter class-10

THE AVERAGE COST PER YEAR OF SADIA’S EDUCATION FROM NOW UNTIL EIGHT YEARS LATER WHEN SHE FINISHES  HER MASTERS IN ENGLISH, IS $931. HELP SADIA GET HER DEGREE AND BRIGHTEN HER FUTURE.  YOU CAN FUND ANY NUMBER OF YEARS YOU WISH TO. YOUR SUPPORT WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO HER AS WITHOUT IT, SHE CANNOT DREAM ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE OF POVERTY.

You should know …

For poor families in South Asia, dowry is part of marriages. When a young daughter like Sadia has a
marriage arranged, her family provides the groom’s family with money to pay for now being responsible
for the daughter’s care and expenses. But if the groom and his family are unsatisfied with the dowry,
they take it out on the bride. Every year many young women in Bangladesh are battered, disfigured, or
killed in dowry-related crimes. The education Sadia receives from OBAT Schools allow her to imagine
choosing her own future, and not to be constricted and vulnerable to tradition-bound practices such as
dowry.

4. Sadia Akter class-10

Meet Noor who wants to be a space engineer

Noor Hasan class-11

Noor is a fan of the video game “Clash of Clans,” which he plays every chance he gets. That isn’t his only pass time, though. He likes to play cricket, and sometimes writes stories. He thinks that there’s a huge
pool of talent in Bangladesh, but because of a lack of education, these talents go unrecognized and all
too often undeveloped. Noor believes in the value of hard work to achieve one’s goals: “it is not your
fault if you are born poor,” he says, “but it is your fault if you die poor.”
If Noor had the power to do anything, he says he’d eliminate drug smuggling within the Urdu-speaking
camps. He’d also improve the living conditions there so that people would be proud rather than ashamed to be from the camps. Noor’s favorite people include the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his parents, who are ever vigilant about his studies.  He wants to study toward an E.E.E. degree (electric and electronic engineering) and ultimately become a Space Engineer.
After he finishes with his studies, he would also like to work toward controlling greenhouse gases and find
alternate sources of energy.

 

2. Noor Hasan class-11 

THE AVERAGE COST PER YEAR OF NOOR’S EDUCATION FROM NOW UNTIL SIX YEARS LATER WHEN HE FINISHES  HIS E.E.E, IS $959. HELP NOOR GET HIS E.E.E. DEGREE AND BRIGHTEN HIS FUTURE.  YOU CAN FUND ANY NUMBER OF YEARS YOU WISH TO. YOUR SUPPORT WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO HIM AS WITHOUT IT, HE CANNOT DREAM ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE OF POVERTY.

You should know …

Noor’s dream of finding alternative sources of energy is not unrealistic. One of the very exciting developments for young people in the camps such as Noor is OBAT Think Tank, a youth-driven initiative to identify and solve problems facing their community. Schools in the camps lack reliable access to electricity, which means lighting is always a problem. Young people in the Think Tank have designed and installed solar bottle lights in schools. These innovative lights are made of discarded plastic bottles and require zero electricity to provide illumination. Now hundreds of students in the camps can enjoy uninterrupted studies during the day.

4. Noor Hasan class-11

Meet Dulary who wants to be a banker

Dulari Akter class-10

Dulary’s dad passed away when she was very young. Since then, her mother Rawshan Ara has raised
Dulary and her two siblings, struggling to cope with crushing poverty and repeated setbacks. Her brother
currently supports the family, working as a butcher with a monthly income of $115. Dulary knows that in
order to overcome the circumstances she’s currently trapped in, she needs to focus on studying hard.
She wants to get an MBA and become a banker.
Dulary enjoys light-hearted reading, and plays badminton for fun. She is known among her friends for
telling funny stories and jokes. Even though washing clothes is a chore, she enjoys it since it helps her
mother out. She feels strongly about the academic system in Bangladesh and wants to work towards
reforming it, to provide free education for poor kids, and to work to eliminate child abuse.

 

3. Dulary Akter class-10

THE AVERAGE COST PER YEAR OF DULARI’S EDUCATION FROM NOW UNTIL EIGHT YEARS LATER WHEN SHE FINISHES  HER MBA, IS $1,139. HELP DULARI GET HER MBA DEGREE AND BRIGHTEN HER FUTURE.  YOU CAN FUND ANY NUMBER OF YEARS YOU WISH TO. YOUR SUPPORT WILL MEAN THE WORLD TO HER AS WITHOUT IT, SHE CANNOT DREAM ABOUT AN EDUCATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE OF POVERTY.

You should know …

It may seem funny that Dulary enjoys washing clothes … but the lack of access to clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning is a serious problem in the camps. Water and sanitation in the camps have not been priorities for local governments. OBAT Helpers builds deep tube wells and hand pumps so that kids like Dulary can wash clothes, and so their families can drink safely.

Dulary Akter 2 class-10