While a part of the Dhaka population was busy shopping at swanky stores prior to Eid, there are others wondering if they should spend the little amount of money they have on a proper toilet or feeding their children and sending them to school. People often drive by the Banani Lake area, but how often do they wonder what's going on, on the other side of the lake? Life on the other side of the lake is not pretty. On the other side is Korail slum, taking up over 90 acres of land, and is home to a population of 78,000. There are no roads linking the city to the slums and so, the only way to get there is by taking a boat through the dirtier areas of the lake. Unlike the city roads, the lanes inside the slum are narrow and dirty. The roofs that provide shelter to the people are not made of concrete, but tin. The little holes on the walls serve as windows. Most of the Korail population don't have access to good hygiene and fresh drinking water.
Keeping all the above in mind, Team Saviours of the PDF Summer Challenge, organised by Physically-Challenged Development Foundation, decided to help out some of the people living in Korail. The team was led by A.G. Mutasim Islam and Afiat Maishah, and they are the ones who came up with most of the ideas for their project. Their mission was to provide free medical checkups and medicines to the people living in Korail. The team gathered around a 100 volunteers to help with their project.
The team and its volunteers raised Tk 35,000 and about 300 clothes. The funds were used to buy necessary things required for the project, including medicines, bleaching powder, oral saline and filters. The event finally kicked off on July 13, 2014, when the volunteers conducted a survey on the lifestyle of people living in the Korail slum.
The volunteers patiently listened to the various complaints about the daily hurdles the slum people have to face. On July 14, a medical camp -- inaugurated by Jennifer Farrell, founder of Criticalink -- was set up at the JAAGO Foundation School in Korail. Eight doctors from Dhaka Medical College volunteered and were able to provide checkups to about 600 people. On the 15th, clothes and oral saline were distributed among people, while bleaching powder was used to kill mosquitoes spreading dengue. Six water filters were donated to the local madrassas, schools and mosques.
The leader of Team Saviours, Mutasim, said, “I have been working for several other organisations for the last two years, from where I gained leadership skills and learned how to be a do-er and not just a dreamer. This project gave me a chance to execute my skills.”
Incidentally, Team Saviours and its volunteers were awarded with the title of 'The most service providing team'.