Open Letter & Appeal to Charities in Bangladesh

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Image via AFP

Although not anywhere near as bad as Cyclone Sidr which hit Bangladesh in 2007, Cyclone Alia has already killed 100 over 200 people with many more displaced and without access to shelter or clean & safe drinking water. I want to help – but I might as well be back in my bed in Canada because that goal is so very far away.

I need a hero.

Nick Downie (Save the Children) On the Boat with Me

Nick Downie (2007)

I was able to help during Cyclone Sidr because of someone who is now a personal hero of mine. His name is Nick Downie. Back during Cyclone Sidr, he was working for Save the Children UK. In the midst of all this death and trauma, Nick saw the sincerity in my desire to help… and gave me the opportunity.

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Helping Kids with Save the Children

Thanks to him approximately 35 children at a Save the Children Safe Center were provided with blankets to sleep under in advance of the winter season that was quickly approaching. Without any homes or shelter, those blankets were the only way many of those children & families were able to stay warm that winter. I’m willing to help again and have even more to offer this time.

One LifeStraw = Clean Water For One Year

One LifeStraw = Clean Water For A Year

Thanks to Vestergaard-Frandsen I have 45 personal water purification units. These can turn water from any salt-free source (a pond, a river, a lake) and turn it into safe drinking water. I have 10 insecticide treated tarpaulins – useful as shelter and to keep disease spread by bugs away. I also have donations from over 22 different countries ready to be spent. But I have no means to help anyone just by myself.

I need a hero again.

Thus far, my friends at Save the Children are working up the various chains of command trying to see if I can team up again. No word yet – but I am hopeful. A friend at the American International School helped me network with the Deputy Country Director of Care Bangladesh. The Deputy Country Director thanked me for the offer – and then politely denied my request.

I am ready willing, and able to go to the field right away. I know it’s not going to be a glamorous experience. Last time I went, the “toilet” was nothing more than a hole in the ground and my “bed” was nothing more than two abandoned school desks put together. I don’t ask for much except the opportunity to get out there, help, and share the story with those interested in following along.

It’s disasters like Cyclone Alia that highlight a painful reality for me here in Bangladesh. Charities are more than happy for people like me to raise awareness & funds for them back home. But doing the same with them on the ground is a completely different reality – and the majority of charities haven’t given me the time of day to even consider the possibility.

Now more than ever, I need someone to help me so I can help others.

11 Responses to “Open Letter & Appeal to Charities in Bangladesh”


  1. 1 Michael Bowler

    Hey Shawn, I have been following your site and youtube stuff with interest. You are doing a great job for Bangladeshis and Bangladesh and wanted to offer my assistance if it helps. My one suggestion would be that you get to know Fr. Richard Timm, CSC at Notre Dame College and spend some time with him, learn from him, and even mention him here. You see he was my mentor when I first came to Bangladesh as a recent ND Alum and he helped me a great deal when I did my Ph.D. dissertation research in rural SW Bangladesh with BRAC. Like you I have been interested in Bangladesh since I was a member of the World Hunger Coalition at ND in the 1970s. I was the first recipient of the Tom Dooley ND Alumni award for humanitarian service and continue to do research, teach, and write about poverty and development in Bangladesh. And seeing as you are Canadian also played hockey at ND! But do some networking with Fr. Timm and learn about the Bangladesh ND connections that go back over 200 years. My e-mail is [PRIVATE] and would be happy to correspond via e-mai. Again keep up the good work and website and let me know if I can be of help.

    Michael Bowler
    Assistant Professor Global Studies
    Winona State University
    Winona, MN 55987
    USA

  2. 2 Michael Bowler

    Hey Shawn, I have been following your site and youtube stuff with interest. You are doing a great job for Bangladeshis and Bangladesh and wanted to offer my assistance if it helps. My one suggestion would be that you get to know Fr. Richard Timm, CSC at Notre Dame College and spend some time with him, learn from him, and even mention him here. You see he was my mentor when I first came to Bangladesh as a recent ND Alum and he helped me a great deal when I did my Ph.D. dissertation research in rural SW Bangladesh with BRAC. Like you I have been interested in Bangladesh since I was a member of the World Hunger Coalition at ND in the 1970s. I was the first recipient of the Tom Dooley ND Alumni award for humanitarian service and continue to do research, teach, and write about poverty and development in Bangladesh. And seeing as you are Canadian also played hockey at ND! But do some networking with Fr. Timm and learn about the Bangladesh ND connections that go back over 200 years. My e-mail is [PRIVATE] and would be happy to correspond via e-mai. Again keep up the good work and website and let me know if I can be of help.

    Michael Bowler
    Assistant Professor Global Studies
    Winona State University
    Winona, MN 55987
    USA

  3. 3 Shawn

    Hi Professor Bowler – I just sent an email to the address you provided 🙂

  4. 4 Shawn

    Hi Professor Bowler – I just sent an email to the address you provided 🙂

  5. 5 melchior

    this link will not be helpful, i’m sorry, but instead make light of your frustrations. http://moproblems.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/the-‘who-the-hell-are-you’-development-metric/

    good luck with your quest

  6. 6 melchior

    this link will not be helpful, i’m sorry, but instead make light of your frustrations. http://moproblems.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/the-‘who-the-hell-are-you’-development-metric/

    good luck with your quest

  7. 7 Aquino

    Convert a mapping object or a sequence of two-element tuples to a “url-encoded” string, s

  8. 8 Aquino

    Convert a mapping object or a sequence of two-element tuples to a url-encoded string, s

  9. 9 Amie Frasure

    I went to the link you give to get the free gift card for toys from Kmart but it says I am not in USA and do not qualify, do you know if Kmart is doing this in canada too?

  10. 10 Amie Frasure

    I went to the link you give to get the free gift card for toys from Kmart but it says I am not in USA and do not qualify, do you know if Kmart is doing this in canada too?

  11. 11 Tim

    I don’t know how the charities are going in Bangladesh but as far I see all the money goes to the pockets of the coordinators. World Vision and many other NGO s are doing the same. They dont give the full of the charities.

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