This was another flight I swapped onto as I was supposed to be going to Kuala Lumpur. I visited Kuala Lumpur twice, back-to-back a couple of months ago so I decided to swap my flight for Dhaka. I have wanted to visit here for a while and go to the Maria Cristina Foundation.
We departed Dubai at 02:00am, and with a slight delay leaving Dubai because of the stormy weather, we arrived into Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka around 9am.
After a quick 1 hour power nap, I had arranged to visit the Maria Cristina Foundation. The Maria Cristina Foundation helps underprivileged children in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh break the cycle of poverty through education. I contacted the charity directly and I organised my visit with Mahin. Mahin is a 15 year old boy from the village who now works as a tourist guide. He very kindly met me at the hotel and then we took an Uber to the Foundation.
I arrived at the main centre and spoke with Mahin all about the charity while we waited for the children to finish school. It was really interesting learning about how Maria Conceicao set up the foundation and the incredible things she has done for the community. Maria is Portuguese and is actually ex Emirates crew who fell in love with Dhaka on a 24 hour visit. From there, she built the foundation and by doing so, she has given the children so many opportunities to develop their education.
I then started to meet the children as they had now finished school for the day. I met classmates Hashi, Smrity, Lima and Chompa and they were the sweetest girls. They showed me around the community including their houses and where their friends live. It was definitely eye opening seeing their living conditions and so many people squeezed into such a small space but they were so happy and positive.
We got back to the centre, and Lima asked if she could play with my hair – how sweet! She did the most beautiful plait and then we did some drawing as they told me that is their favourite thing to do in their free time.
After this, a lot of the other children started to come in and meet me which was so lovely. They were the cutest children with such good english. They loved talking to me and showing off their talents! They did dances for me, singing, cartwheels – you name it!
I loved every second of it, chatting and playing with them and they even taught me how to Bangla dance! It was such a nice afternoon, I will never forget my visit and seeing their faces light up because I was there. By the sounds of it, they don’t get many visitors and Mahin was urging me to spread the word.
Sadly, it was then time to say goodbye to the children as it was getting late. They really didn’t want me to leave and kept asking if I could stay! It was so sad but I promised that I would definitely come back. They gave me so many drawings which I can’t wait to put up on my wall in my bedroom when I get back to Dubai!
I got back to the hotel in the evening and then just had some dinner in the room. It felt weird coming back to such a luxurious hotel after spending the day in the slums with the children. It has definitely opened my eyes and made me appreciate my life. I will 100% come back here and visit again and hope other people continue to do so too.
If any crew are reading this and would like to visit the foundation, you can get in touch with Mahin on +880 1995 517210 or at www.facebook.com/mehedihasan.mahin23/
Thank you so much for having me Dhaka!
Thanks for reading.
Kerry May xo