Bangladesh: meeting Nirob and building for babies like him
When I met 10-week-old Nirob back in January of this year, his story didn’t fill me with hope or determination.
I didn’t have in mind that Nirob could inspire thousands of others to build a lasting change, for him and countless others. In fact, Nirob’s story didn’t really strike me as stand-out.
Why? If I’m honest I was a bit overwhelmed.
A life without medical care
I’d arrived in Bangladesh just a couple of days previously, spending time with Save the Children staff before making my way to Habiganj in the region of Sylet in the north-east of the country.
Our staff had told me there was a desperate need for health clinics in the region – that a population of 436,000 people was served by just four clinics.
In reality, I was to find out, that meant that people lived a life without medical care. If they had problems giving birth or if their child got sick, all they could do was hope for the best. Care was either too expensive to get to (one month’s wages for the travel) or too far away (over six hours walk).
Lives of loss
And so I met mother after mother who had lost children. Mili’s Mum had one child but had lost two. Saikat’s Mum had four children and had also lost two.
Shipra had little Nirob, but her other three children had all died in the first few hours of their lives. She spoke of the desolation she felt every time she lost a child, that even a doctor couldn’t mend her broken heart.
Just before I met Nirob and Shipra, the villagers had told me they thought 9 out of 10 women in their village would suffer the loss of one of their children. So when I met Nirob, I was already overwhelmed.
When I learned that Nirob too was very sick, but that all his parent could do was just hope he’d pull through, I already knew that his story wasn’t out of the ordinary.
Time to build a better future
Now, I feel very differently. Plans are afoot to build more clinics in Nirob’s region.
I visited the site near Nirob where one clinic will be built. We’ve started an ambitious fundraising appeal to raise the money to build, equip and staff the clinics.
For me, Nirob’s story is now one of hope and determination. We MUST raise enough money to build these clinics. Nirob’s story shouldn’t be ordinary. If all goes well, soon it won’t be.
This too will be a long journey, but it’s one we have to undertake.