x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Bangladesh community to establish aid group

A group of Bangladeshi expatriates in Dubai is creating an organisation to provide education, promote trade and offer financial help to those in need.

n:Imran Choudhury, centre, talks to Bangladeshi workers about his new association to help and support his countrymen living in Dubai.
n:Imran Choudhury, centre, talks to Bangladeshi workers about his new association to help and support his countrymen living in Dubai.

DUBAI // The Bangladeshi community in Dubai is setting up an association that promises to build a stronger sense of community spirit and support among members.

Community members said they want the new organisation to provide education, promote Bangladeshi trade and offer financial help for those in need.

The group behind the plan hopes to attract aid from businessmen and women in the UAE and in Bangladesh, and is looking to the embassy for support.

"Many in the Bangladeshi community feel more can be done to help and their fellow countrymen are not being supported enough," said Shah Imran Choudhury, a Bangladeshi expatriate who runs a Dubai events management company.

"At the moment the groups that are out there don't really do this, and we want to change this."

Mr Choudhury, 37, who has been in Dubai since 1984, said the group would be called the Arab Bangladesh Association but was still in the planning phase.

"We want an organisation that will be able to be there for people who need help," he said. "For example, if someone has had an injury and cannot work in the UAE then we want to be able to support that person or his family," he said.

The association will be not-for-profit and will seek to raise money through donations by members.

"One of the big problems that Bangladeshis face are the promises that are made to them by companies about employment and the reality of life when they get here.

"We want the association to work with the Bangladeshi government to inform them of the problems that they can face," said Mr Choudhury.

In many cases, people pay agents up to Dh20,000 just to get to the Emirates but on arrival often end up without a company visa and less than Dh800 a month in wages, he said.

He plans to visit the Bangladeshi consulate's economic department in Dubai next week to discuss ways of getting the association off the ground.

Aftab Monir, 30, is also helping to establish the association and said that although there are other Bangladeshi groups, most do not work to help citizens from the country.

"Basically the embassy and consulate only deal with paperwork and documents," he said. "They don't do anything in terms of trying to bring the community together or develop a community spirit amongst the people."

Most Bangladeshis, said Mr Monir, were desperate to escape poverty and poor job prospects by starting a new life abroad, but needed to be educated and informed of what they were getting into.

Nazmul Quaunine, Bangladesh's ambassador to the UAE, said he was unaware of the proposals for the new association.

"The Bangladesh Embassy is willing to support this association, but it is subject to them getting the relevant approval from the UAE or Dubai governments for registration," he said.

"Once that is done we will do what we can to help."