Two schools up and operational!
We made it! Thank YOU!!
Thanks to all of you wonderful people all around the world, we've been successful in contributing to the establishment of the Solmaid Community school in a slum area of Dhaka and building our own school for underprivileged children in rural Sonargaon just outside of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka.
Thanks to all our donors, sponsors, Kevin Tiller for joining in on our crazy adventure and to the many people who have helped and assisted us throughout the journey - there are too many to list!
Special thanks go to Shahed Kayes and Shubornogram Foundation for their ongoing partnership with us in helping provide education to those who need it most and to the SAFE team who built our second school while educating the local people and using environmentally-sound and recognised building techniques and materials - Shareq, Azit, John Arnold and Ananya - this simply would not have happened without you and we hope that this is only the beginning of our partnership! Lastly, and most importantly, to our project coordinator, runner and 'Gastorade' coach, Chris Hesse - thank you for seeing this through from Day 1 right to the end!
It's been a long road, but a fulfilling one - enjoy these pictures of the final product and the smiles on those faces...you're all a part of this - thank you!
KEVIN TILLER'S 2013 BANGLA-DASH
Congratulations to Kevin Tiller (with an honourable mention to the indefatiguable Chris Hesse, who ran despite a troublesome hip injury) for completing the 2013 Bangladash and managing to add at least another $5000 to our school-building kitty!! This year's edition was completed in some very trying and difficult conditions. Kevin ran the 85km on the Indian side of the border with no support crew, having never seen the road AND with a 20kg backpack on his back - truly AMAZING! We're so grateful that Kevin was willing and able to join the team and extend the Bangladash from being merely a once-off and helping us build a better school in Sonargaon.
The troubles for this year's edition all occurred on the Bangladeshi side of the border - with the country currently in the midst of dangerous and unpredictable 'hartals' (nation-wide politcal strikes/shutdowns). Because of the uncertainty and violence surrounding these events, Kevin and Chris (who drove to the border to greet him), had to make a quick dash back to Dhaka to avoid the clashes and marches happening around the capital. Being the enterprising men they are though, they found a compromise - on the one day they were together where there was not a hartal called, they ran 37 km together from Dhaka to Sonargaon, the site of our second school and met the community and students there. While the circumstances were far more difficult this time around, you cannot deny Kevin's tenacity and courage to soldier on solo as he did, really an amazing effort!
You wouldn't believe it - we certainly didn't - we've found someone to keep the Bangla-dash 'running' in 2013. A great man by the name of Kevin Tiller read something about the Balngla-dash on the web last year, made contact with Chris and Marc - a couple of Skype chats and emails later - and Kevin was buying himself plane tickets and is now keeping the project alive!!
The amazing aspect of this 2013 edition of the Bangla-dash is that KEVIN IS DOING IT ALL SOLO!!! The whole way, by himself! Kevin is a very seasoned and experienced runner, having completed races that most us could barely have driven, but the unique heat and conditions will be a test even for him. We are very excited and grateful to have Kevin on board as the funds he raises will enable us to build a sustainable two storey school with solar panels and allow us to extend the lease on the land to 10 years!!!!
To read more about Kevin and his amazing journey through India and Bangladesh, visit his blog:
Here are some pictures of Kevin on his run, complete with 20kg pack and 'cha'(Bangla for tea) stops - Gatorade not required - Chuck Norris has nothing on this bloke!!
Here are a couple of pictures he's sent through to us:
The Bangla-dash 2012
Marc and Chris completed the initial Bangla-dash on 20th April 2012 in Dhaka, arriving home tired, but safe to their beautiful families. Our second (and most important!) objective of raising $20,000 has also been accomplished thanks mainly to the support and extreme generosity of our families and friends around the world - so thank you!! Thanks to all of you, we can now move forward and start building schools in Bangladesh!
To see pictures of our run, visit: www.facebook.com/thebangladash
To read our blog, visit: www.bangladashblog.blogspot.com
* All pictures and blogs courtesy of our accompanying, dedicated and multi-talented journo, Tim Koehn!
It is because of YOUR support that we're able to do this - so thank YOU!!
Two teachers running 291km to build schools in Bangladesh - April 17-20
Welcome! Thank you for choosing our site on which to pass a few of your valuable browsing minutes.
We are two ex-pat teachers living and working in Bangladesh and looking to give a little bit back to a country that has given us both so much in perspective, experience and a catalogue of stories that will last a lifetime.
Bangladesh is a country that all too often receives press for the worst reasons; from its bitter war of independence in 1971 and widespread famine thereafter to the current problems of ongoing poverty, working conditions, rapid and unsustainable urbanisation, poor infrastructure, environmental concerns, high-level corruption (like everywhere!) and low literacy rates. As teachers, our primary concern is that last point: from a population of 160 million, 60 million of these are school-aged children, 30 million of whom live in poverty. This has a flow-on effect to workers who are ill-informed about their rights and working conditions later in life and means that so many of this country's problems are self-perpetuating.
This run is about helping some of those 30 million children pave the way to a better future for this country that has given us both so much. In spite of combined efforts by the government and various charitable international organisations, the need for help here is simply overwhelming and we'd love to have you help us in our bid to do our little bit. As the pictures and videos on this website will attest, in spite of the innumerable obstacles and difficulties Bangladeshi people face, their warmth, happiness, openness and hospitality put many developed countries to shame. So, with their smiling faces and spontaneous invitations for tea or meals with their families in mind, we will be running 291 kilometres from Kolkata, India back ‘home’ to Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 17-20 in the hope of instigating some much needed and overdue assistance to these children and their families.
So, thank you for taking the time to check out what we’re doing and what we’re about, we invite you to have a look around the website to find out more. For the latest updates, information and pictures on our run and progress, please feel free to join our facebook page: www.facebook.com/thebangladash.
Chris and Marc