More Canadians doing good in the world

As many of you already know, Peter Wing & Claire Weeks from SpiNepal in Vancouver are the people that introduced me to SIRC , that’s how I ended up working in Nepal for 5 months. Clearly Peter & Claire know lots of people who do good around the world, and e-introduced me to a few folks also from Vancouver who are currently volunteering here in Dhaka, in a neighbourhood called Uttara.  They are medical folks – doctors and nurses who are visiting instructors, teaching a nursing training program at IUBAT.

IUBAT aims to professionalize the nursing role by providing excellent training and certification by the Bangladeshi Government.  Nurses here in Bangladesh are not well respected and are treated more like care attendants than the professionals they are.  IUBAT aims to change that. Bob and Margery Hawkins, along with Sara Jackson came along to my apartment for a late lunch.

It was lovely to connect with Canadians from Vancouver and share our experiences of life in Dhaka and other places around the world.  And give each other tips on how to make life a little easier in this city.  The all important topic of where to get good coffee came up (North End – no place better hands down!) and I got to learn about a reliable and safe taxi service – invaluable when it can be so difficult to get around as a female alone.

Me with Margery (m), Bob and Sara (r) at my apartment in Dhaka.

Me with Margery (m), Bob and Sara (r) at my apartment in Dhaka.

Fortunately for them, Dr Karen Lund the Nursing Chair at IUBAT had a meeting in my part of town so they got a ride in an air conditioned car to my place – better than a 1.5 hour journey in a local bus and CNG.  And got a ride home which was even better.  It was also lovely to meet Karen who has been over 10 years in Dhaka and liking it here.

IUBAT also have some business training so I am hoping to make the trip out to IUBAT before I leave Bangladesh on June 26. Good luck to Bob and Margery for the remainder of their stay in Bangladesh (they leave end June) and to Sara who has another few months to go.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
This entry was posted in Bangladesh and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s