Volume 2 Issue 32 | April 26 , 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Rangpur

Three Philanthropists

Rafique Sarker

Philanthropists at heart, Dr. Tayyeb Hussain, Dr. Shamsuzzaman Lohani Sham, and Professor Mozammel Huq are determined to do their part for their community.

After their plane lands in Bangladesh, Dr. Hussain rushes to his birthplace at Pirgachha in Rangpur, Dr. Lohani to Baderganj in Rangpur and Professor Huq to Kakina in Lalmonirhat to check up on their projects.

Dr. Hussain is a Bangladeshi living in London, Dr. Lohani lives in Melbourne, Australia and Professor Huq lives in Scotland. They are all above sixty. They all frequently come back to Bangladesh for their desire to help people out. They have been running charity services for the good of the people in Rangpur and Lalmonirhat for many years. They expect change and development in the areas where they were born and brought up.

Dr Tayyeb Hussain was born in 1934 at Pirgachha in Rangpur. He started his life as a schoolteacher. Subsequently, he became a professor of chemistry at A M College in Mymensingh. After completing his PhD from the University of Sheffield, he carried on with teaching in the UK. Now retired, he is fully devoted to philanthropic activities, primarily through the Tayyeb Hussain Foundation established in 2001. It is dedicated to health and education for the Bangladeshi communities UK and Bangladesh. THF also supports the Sarah Memorial Girls High School and also built the Tahmina Hussain Women's Hostel at Paschim Debu under Pirgachha in Rangpur. Dr. Tayyeb Hussain is also concerned about the health of disabled people of Pirgachha. To provide healthcare he founded a charitable clinic named Teg Ali Shah Clinic. Two MBBS physicians are giving treatment. Some of the medicines are also given to the patients of the clinic free of charge.

He hoped that he would set up a yoga center in Rangpur and other places in Bangladesh. Dr Tayyeb Hussain supports scholarships to poor students of Lalmonirhat, Bogra and Rangpur. 65 of the poor meritorious students in each of the three districts get scholarships every year.

Recently he purchased land to set up a stadium to develop sports and games at Pirgachha. THF will soon begin construction work on it. He said, "The minds of the young generation will not be developed if they are grown up without playing games and sports. I want the young generation to play at the stadium to develop their minds." The foundation has formed an Economic Think-Tank called Future Bangladesh.

Commenting on the ultimate objective of the THF, Dr. Hussain said, "I expected nothing in return of my charity services to the people. I won't be involved with politics in Bangladesh. I want to see everybody coming forward with positive approaches to make the northern districts prosperous."

Dr Shamsuzzaman Lohani Sham, an expatriate Bangladeshi in Australia, along with his wife Momotaz Lohani and his friends, founded the Bangladesh-Australia Foundation in Melbourne. The main objective is to provide for the disadvantaged people of Baderganj with healthcare services, job opportunities and financial support.

People of Baderganj upazila often got into trouble as they could not bring critical patients to the district headquarters due to the lack of an ambulance. Even four years back patients died on their way to the RMCH or private clinics in the district headquarters. Carrying patients from Baderganj to the district headquarters or other places in the country is no longer a problem. Dr. Lohani donated an ambulance to the Baderganj Municipality three years back.

People of Baderganj now use the support transport whenever they need to carry patients.

In 2006 Dr. Lohani founded the Sham and Momo Lohani Medical Centre on 4 acres of land at a cost of about 50 lakh taka at Chandkuttir Danga in Baderganj. An MBBS physician and a number of well-trained nurses have been giving treatment facilities to the poor people of Baderganj for free.

Dr. Lohani founded the Tochhir Uddin Lohani Merit Scholarship Trust at Baderganj in 2006 to encourage and support higher education for poor and meritorious students of the area. Each year 10 meritorious students who secure best result in the public examinations in Baderganj get the stipend.

A few weeks back he donated ten sewing machines to the BAF with a view to providing training support to unemployed youths. He wants the interested youth of the area to get training there to be self-reliant. He said, "I don't claim that I am doing much for the people of Baderganj. These are jobs of local politicians. The politicians of Baderganj could have done a lot for its people. What the local politicians contributed for Baderganj are rivalry, conflict and division among the people which made hindrances to proper development."

He said, "I don't intend to be involved in politics at the age of 68. I will render the charity services for the people of Baderganj as long as I live. I founded Bangladesh-Australia Foundation so that the charity services I started for the people would continue even after my death with the fund I donated from part of my earnings from the foundation."

Dr. Lohani was born in a middle class family on June 7, 1940 at Lohanipara, 11 km off from Baderganj upazila headquarters. He completed his primary education at Lohanipara Primary School, secondary education at Baderganj High School, higher secondary and Bachelor's Degree from Rangpur Carmichael College. He earned a Master's Degree from Rajshahi University. He left Bangladesh for Australia in 1968. He earned a diploma in education and a PhD degree from Melbourne University, Australia. He later started his business in Melbourne. His wife, Momotaz Lohani, who is a member of BAF always inspired him.

Dr. Mozammel Huq is a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He has also been closely involved with local communities, having served, among other things, as President of the Bangladeshi Community and also as Chairman of the "Scottish Asian Action Committee".

Dr. Mozammel Huq has dreamt of seeing all people of Kakina educated. He set up an educational institute named Uttar Bangla College in 1992.

Regarding the special features of the college, Dr. Mozammel said, “it will not be wrong to say that Uttar Bangla College has some serious programs for raising the skill of the students to a high level, turning them into highly knowledgeable persons, making them highly proficient in communications, raising their confidence level in English and significantly increasing their computer literacy. The college has an English Club too. Over 50 male students stay in the college hostel, and a 30-bed female hostel is now under construction. Dr. Huq is very hopeful about the college's future.


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