I am Tim Allen from Sheffield, UK. I am 29 years old. In the UK I am a Sustainability Officer, helping students at the University of Sheffield to make a difference doing environmental projects. Laura and I (who are travelling together) knew we wanted to volunteer in South Asia because we’ve always been interested in travelling to that region. Laura is a Speech and Language Therapist so we just googled “Speech Therapy Volunteering South Asia”, and CRP came up as clearly the best place to go! Since then, we’ve learned about its (and Valerie’s) great reputation which made us even more happy to come here.
Here at CRP I have introduced a beekeeping project to the Vocational Training Unit. Patients and staff have been trained on how to keep Asian honeybees. In the UK I had been beekeeping for 4 years already. During that time I gained confidence, made a lot of mistakes, and learned from those! So, I have been able to use my experiences and enthusiasm to encourage other people here to give it a go. Bees are fascinating, and everyone likes honey! So it’s been easy to convince people to try it.
CRP is a wonderful place to live in. Outside in Savar it’s dusty, noisy and urban, but CRP is an oasis of green and calm. The atmosphere here is great because of the people, everyone is friendly, there are so many disabled people employed here, it seems like a positive vision of Bangladesh’s possible future. Favourite things about Bangladesh: friendly people, Bangla hospitality, fresh fruit (mangoes! Jackfruit!), little family-run shops, the enthusiasm people give you when you try speaking Bangla. Being here has really been a rich experience in my life. Being in an environment where PWDs are the norm and treated equally has opened my eyes to how society could and should be, not just in Bangladesh but in my home country as well- the UK still has a long way to go before all disabled people are treated equally, and I hope to help achieve that with my behaviour at home. Overall though, I would say that the welcome and the helpfulness that Bangladeshis give to foreigners is far better than our country would give to them. Well done Bangladesh!