As part of my assignment I had the privilege to visit the CARE-GSK project in Bangladesh. Now to be honest, Bangladesh has never been somewhere high on my list of places to travel. I guess all I really knew about it was that it was the most densely populated country in the world (apart from Singapore) and that it was prone to flooding; neither of which had made it high on my priority travel list. But as the PULSE gene is about adaptability, flexibility and gratitude I thought I’d better embrace the opportunity and dive in…..
….and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Okay so Dhaka is crazily busy, with traffic to make London look like a country village but it was buzzing with life and I didn’t feel unsafe. Although part of that could be that the GSK and CARE Bangladesh teams looked after me so well.
We had a packed schedule visiting the rural project in Sumanganj in the North and then travelling back down to Dhaka to visit the urban project in Gazipur, working with M&S to improve health access for factory workers. It was really interesting to see where a lot of our clothes are made and the great work the project is doing, not only to improve health but also to demonstrate the positive outcomes for the factory owners. A win-win all round.
And as for the rural project, well there were many similarities that I could draw with the Nepal project and it was great to be able to see a similar project working in a different context and organisational structure. Many cross-learnings to be had!
There is so much more I could write about the wonderful people I met, the travelling challenges (and experiencing my first migraine), the amazing stories from the community women and the beautiful scenery but safe to say Bangladesh was more than I expected it to be. Sometimes it pays to be open…