“Five days until I leave for Bangladesh, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
This was the first entry I wrote in my travel journal, and thinking back to the feelings I was having then and throughout my trip with OBAT Helpers, I’m filled with happiness. I’m very passionate about Islamic societies, culture, language, education and human rights; however, this was my first international experience. Visiting the schools was what I was most excited to experience. I was anxious and curious to hear stories from the children and their families, and to be able to witness first-hand, their living conditions. Were their living conditions, lack of access to jobs, discrimination and socio-economic status eye-opening to me? Yes. But more eye-opening and empowering than anything was the energy and light that came from the children.
The schools, programming, teachers and team members were incredible. The love and feeling of duty that they felt are things that I have never seen and will never forget. It makes me tear up now thinking about them. Looking back in my journal, I wrote about our visit to the school in Rangpur, and how one of the teachers said that she didn’t know these children could be so smart and wonderful, and how she loves them so much, loves her job and is so proud of them. Who knew such light could shine in darkness? OBAT Helpers allowed me an opportunity to join their team, and bring programming that could support and aid in their work in girls’ and womens’ empowerment and education. I figured, I would feel excited and motivated after I arrived back to the States, but I had no idea I would feel as passionate and determined as I do. My pulse quickens at the memories and at the stories I tell when talking to friends and family. OBAT Helpers is striving to create change and provide support to break down barriers of inequality, discrimination and injustice, and I feel honored and privileged to be able to tell my experiences and the stories of those involved and effected by OBAT Helpers.
Hannah Croucher, May 2014