Seeing the bright side

I’m walking through an icy wind that cuts like a knife, snowflakes falling on the ground. Was it really two weeks ago that I felt the sun shining in my face, saw colourful rickshaws everywhere I looked, smelled the curries and dried fish and was welcomed by girls with flowers in their hands?

Our welcome at Mukti project, Cox’s Bazar (photo: Claudia van Harten)
Our welcome at Mukti project, Cox’s Bazar (photo: Claudia van Harten)

In many ways, Bangladesh could not have been more different to the Netherlands and it was a week full of surprises and amazements. However, when it comes to the children there is not much of a difference to children in the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world. Their dream is to become a teacher, doctor, pilot or lawyer. They love to sing and dance and they are curious to know what your favourite food is or how many brothers and sisters you have.

But if all children are the same, then why do they still not have equal opportunities all around the world? It is a fact that makes me quite sad. But sadness doesn’t get you anywhere and that’s exactly what people must have thought in Bangladesh. I was very inspired to see that there are so many good initiatives and projects in Bangladesh that are working to create a better world and future for children.

Listen to this audio file: three boys at Mukti project sang for us. Normally they sing these songs at the beach to collect money from tourists.

I am back home again, on the other side of the planet, and I keep thinking about all the children we met during the week. They were funny, sweet, curious and clever. They touched my heart and I was impressed by their eagerness to go to school, to get knowledge and to take opportunities that their parents never had. Their lives are not a bed of roses, but the children seem to have an incredible willpower to reach their goals. If we can continue to give them just that bit of support that they need, they will have a bright future ahead of them!

Children I met during the week (photo: Claudia van Harten)
Children I met during the week (photo: Claudia van Harten)