News From Bhola

I'm late writing this month... for many reasons but the most important one being, I wanted to be able to pass on accurate and honest news from Bhola.  Things have been difficult; they are emerging into a new chapter of strength and positivity - and most importantly the children are thriving!  I'm posting Dinah, our Chief Trustee's, letter in full; it's long, it's shocking, but please read to the end... and hopefully, stay with Bhola's Children...


Dear friends,

I know many of you have wondered at the lack of any report following my visit with Freda in February.   Now, after a worrying time, I can send you our official report on the situation in Bhola. 
We are immensely proud of how much we have achieved with your help for the children of Bhola, an island of two million people where poverty and lack of proper hospital facilities led to high rates of disability which brings stigma to the whole family. Eight years ago, Ali, the Director of the home and school, was going round the villages on his bicycle searching for disabled children and then with difficulty persuading the family to let him help. Now we have the land, buildings, facilities and staff to cater for up to 100 children. Most importantly, we have built up local support for the project so that families, the authorities and other charities bring children to us. From the District Commissioner down the authorities welcome us and we have well-respected locals on the managing committee there who have the management skills to ensure the funds we provide are well spent in the interests of the children and the influence to promote the project’s aims.
At the start Ali was in charge of everything but as the project grew and he grew older it was clear we had to reduce the burden on him and plan for his succession. It has taken some time to find suitable candidates but over the last year we have appointed a new Director and Deputy Director whom we are confident can take the project forward.
It is, therefore, with great sadness that we have to announce the termination of Ali’s involvement with the project when we had been hoping that the project would continue to benefit from the knowledge and skills he had acquired over a lifetime of work with disabled children. Unfortunately Ali was recently charged with inappropriate behaviour with a vulnerable adult.  We immediately suspended him and barred him from the premises. Then, after exhaustive investigations by ourselves and the police, we felt we had no option but to terminate his involvement. [The police are not considering charging Ali with offences against any child or other adult.]
We reported the situation in detail to the UK Charity Commission and yesterday, to our great relief, they reported themselves satisfied with the actions taken in response to the incident.
As we say, this is a sad day but every such day has a silver lining. Ali was always reluctant to cede control and we can now move forward faster with necessary changes that will make the project permanently sustainable and no longer dependent on one very gifted but, as we now see, flawed individual.   As I mentioned in earlier emails, we were fortunate that Zakirul Haque, whom I met some five years ago and tried to persuade to join us, was between jobs and agreed to be an interim director until we found a replacement for Ali.  He has now agreed to a permanent position, which is a cause for great celebration. We continue to have the full support of the local community,   and we are happy to confirm that new children are still arriving at the same rate as before the story broke.   Five new children have recently arrived, including the youngest of three deaf brothers whose photograph is attached. Ahsanullah and Supian have been with us for many years, and I look forward to meeting little Saiful on my next visit.
I am therefore able to write to you confident that we can move ahead under an excellent new Director, supported by the community and managed by a local Committee whom we trust, and who have the children’s interests at heart.
We are grateful for your help to date and we very much hope you will continue to support us for the future.
Very Best Wishes and thanks from us all

Next time - photos and news of the new students and forthcoming plans.  Meantime,  your comments and responses (whatever they are) are all very welcome.

Anne x
News From Bhola
One Hundred Not Out!


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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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