03 December 2011, London. Regional Representatives for the Vision Bangladesh campaign in Cheltenham and Gloucester Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman officially launched the campaign in their two regions at the Spice Lodge, Montpellier Drive in the presence of Cheltenham’s MP Mr. Martin Horwood and Asian restaurateurs in their regions.
Vision Bangladesh is a ground breaking partnership between BRAC and Sightsavers – two highly respected international charities. The aim is to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013 and across the whole of Bangladesh by 2020.
A simple 20 minute operation costing only £20 can change a person’s life forever.
Martin Horwood, MP of Cheltenham, with years of international development experience in the past described the project as unique and stated:
“This £1 on the bill is ingenious and should win a fundraising award. It is easy for restaurants to implement and affordable for the donors.”
He also supported the effort that restaurants in Cheltenham were putting in to make this fundraising campaign become a success.
Regional Representative of Cheltenham Mr. Mohammed Hafizur Rahman and proprietor of “Spice Lodge” generously hosted the event. Being a strong supporter of the campaign and having already started the fundraising in his restaurant he commented:
“Vision Bangladesh is a unique campaign targeting 100,000 cataract operations in a matter of 3 years. It is a project that is worth applauding and I feel a stronger bond as it’s initially happening in Sylhet where I am originally from. I am proud that I am part of something where with such little money, we can have such a great impact to restore sight to so many people.”
The Regional Representative of Gloucestershire Mr. Akik Fozlur Rahman and proprietor of Rajdoot restaurant in Cirencester happily stated,
“I am so happy to be a part of this brilliant campaign. This campaign gives me, other restaurant proprietors and the wonderful customers who support it, the chance to donate very little and restore sight to poor people who would not have a chance to support themselves and their families."
Rokib Ali, Proprietor of Biplob Restaurant in Swindon expressed a strong connection with the project when he clearly recognized one of the patients to be a tailor from his village, who had his sight restored by the campaign in Bangladesh and said,
“This project should be a brilliant success. We are all behind you to support you in this excellent endeavour in helping so many people across Sylhet division.”
Vision Bangladesh’s British-Bangladesh regional representatives cover England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each regional representative is responsible for mobilising restaurants in their area and supported by BRAC UK with the necessary materials and administration. To date, the campaign has secured commitments of up to 300 restaurants with more joining up every week.
Customers at participating restaurants will be given the option of donating £1 per table at the end of their meal. Those not wishing to take part can easily opt out. It is expected that each participating restaurant will be able to raise £1,000 during October and November. 95% of funds raised will go directly to deliver the Vision Bangladesh programme in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh. Since 2011, Vision Bangladesh has organised more than 21,000 successful cataract operations in Sylhet Division and is on target to eradicate avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2013.
Participating restaurants in Cheltenham are: Spice Lodge, Sami’s Spice, Balti Wala, Kings Balti, Kashmir Tandoori, Robis Takeaway, Indian Brasserie, Vojon Restaurant, Raj Dut Restaurant, India Gate, and Real Spice. Participating restaurants in Gloucestershire are: Rajdoot Restaurant, Biplob Tandoori, Jaflong, Curry Garden, Lalbag, Gulshan, Mela, Jewel in the Crown, The Raj, Jack Spice, Taj Mahal in Swindon and Taj Mahal in Chippenham, Raja, Moonlight, Bengal Spice, Bengal Balti, Sultan Restaurant in Cirencester and Sultan Restaurant in Melksham, Spice of Asia and Tamarind.
Members of the public can also donate online at www.brac.net/visionbangladesh or by a simple text message. Text BRAC20 and the amount you wish to donate (up to £10) to 70070 (e.g your text could read BRAC20 £10).