Valerie Ann Taylor - Social Work
VALERIE ANN TAYLOR is a British born physiotherapist and philanthropist living in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She was born on February 8, 1944, in Bromley, Kent, UK. She is the founder of the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP). Though British by citizenship, she has spent most of her working life in Bangladesh, treating and rehabilitating poor Bangladeshis suffering from neurological disorders. She is also a fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (FCSP).
Valerie first came to Bangladesh with the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in 1969 to work as a physiotherapist in the Christian Hospital, Chandraghona in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. She began to take an interest in caring for the paralysed in Bangladesh when she saw the negligence with which patients suffering from spinal injuries were treated. In 1971, during the Liberation War, Valerie was evacuated. Though she was only obligated to serve for 15 months, Bangladesh left an impression on her. She came back to the country two months before independence, having decided to devote herself to serving the paralysed in Bangladesh.
She was aware of the need for rehabilitation services for disabled people. This problem had become even more acute in the aftermath of the War of Independence. In 1973, Valerie returned to England to attempt to raise funds to establish a rehabilitation centre for the paralysed. She stayed in England for two years before returning in 1975. It took another four years before CRP was able to admit its first patients in 1979. During this time, Valerie worked in the Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital in Dhaka and it was in this hospital that CRP had its first premises consisting of two cement store rooms which were used to treat the first spinally injured patients. CRP founded a permanent home and moved to Savar in mid 1990. Since then, CRP has grown to include a 100-bed hospital, in addition to providing other rehabilitation treatments. The centre provides recreational services including sports arenas and a swimming pool. The centre also provides vocational training for poorer patients so that they can acquire income-generating skills. Valerie Ann Taylor has devoted her entire life to serve some of the most neglected people in our society. She is also a legal guardian to two girls with disabilities, Joyti and Poppy.
In 1998 Valerie was awarded Bangladeshi citizenship by the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. Despite officially taking a backseat at CRP some years ago, she remains the driving force behind the running and development of CRP.
Valerie Ann Taylor received the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1995 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; the Arthur Eyre Brook Gold Medal in 1996 and the Bangladesh Independence Award in 2004. She has also received the National Social Service Award (2000), Anannya Top Ten Awards (2000), Millennium Award (2000), Dr. MR Khan and Anwara Trust Gold Medal (2001), Hakkani Mission Bangladesh Award (2001), Rokeya Shining Personality Award (2005), Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award (2009), Lifetime Achievement Award (2009) by Hope Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh (USA), Nova Southeastern University Award (2009) and innumerable other awards.