Running the FFC Dhaka, Bangladesh, homes costs from $15,000 to $20,000 Canadian per month. Expenses are for food, rent, salaries for local staff, education and medical, and all other related expenses for the 100 children living in the homes.

We have two "baby homes" in Dhaka. All the children in these two homes have been completely abandoned and are considered to have no families. Most were brought in as tiny, high risk babies, and they are mostly girls. FFC has opened a school on the premises for the Baby home children. This is expensive, but necessary. FFC wants the children to learn English and computers, along with academic subjects, so their future will be brighter, and the staff benefit as much as the children. Many staff came to FFC as destitute mothers and had no place to go; most of the rest of the staff are poor or are needy and are supporting large extended families with their FFC wages. All staff are paid a fair local rate for their work.

school children

We have 36 children with special needs. We have children with all different needs both mental and physical. We provide the children with physiotherapy 2 times a week to those who require it. We have a therapy room within the home. We have one nurse in the special care floor taking care of their needs as well as the other children. We also have another nurse in our other house on the floor of the babies and the infants. There are very few places in Dhaka that cater for the needs or well being of special care children. We have two teachers specially trained in special needs children who teach the children at the home.

We recently received funding for coaching five of our students attending class 9 at a local coaching center. We have a deaf girl who is studying in the National Deaf Institution, at Bijoynagar, Dhaka. There are two teachers specifically trained in the area of special needs to teach our special care kids, and we have the special care school in the new house.

Above is a view of the new FFC building, which has rooms for the girls, the office, the small FFC school, a dining room and a garage. The first Montessori classroom in Bangladesh has also attracted interest from the community, and recently two outside students were enrolled.


We have a school within the home that caters for nursery to class 2, and children in Class 3 to Class 10 attend outside school. The school provides computer training for all of our children. We have 1 child currently attending BKSP where the students train in gymnastics along with their normal education. This is mainly a Bangla medium School but they also learn English.

Thanks to a funding grant from the Retired Teachers Association, FFC has been able to set up a Montessori classroom for about 20 students. The children from the orphanage have learned to respect the order and routines of the class, to take turns, and to trust that they would have a chance to do what other children were doing.

It's hard to eat an icecream when it's 40 degrees and 80 percent humidity!!!!


The exam results for the last session have now come in. In the photo above, Minu is shown on the left, along side Eliza, receiving her prize, as a reward for her exellent school results.

Below, the children are shown playing one of the puzzles brought to Dhaka by Muriel Hemmes.

Below, the students from the kindergarten class show off their new school bags.

We have three teachers---Arpona ( she has been with us for many years), Bina and Hasina have started this year. Bina and Hasina grew up in the FFC Home and now live independently. FFC students in grade 3 and higher now attend the government school. Students with special needs remain in our school with 2 other teachers.

New Students

FFC Dhaka has opened the doors to another twenty children living in the slums. Here are the first eight! They have never attended school, and one of the children is deaf. FFC is providing the children with morning snacks, lunch and paying for their education.

New Year Greetings

Shikha has sent along warm greetings from all the children and staff members at FFC Dhaka, to mark the new year. The children are shown at left displaying the art work that they produced to mark the occasion.

A three day program was held, and the FFC children took part on the first day in art and handwriting competiton. Four children won prizes for their penmanship. Nila was first in the younger group, followed by Bristy and then Baby who was fourth. In the older group, Raehan placed fourth. At right, some of our students participating in the art contest.

Victory Day

The celebration of Victory Day for Bangladesh took place December 16. The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War was a war of independence, which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and established the sovereign nation called Bangladesh.

FFC Wedding

Muriel and Shikha have passed on news of Swapna's wedding. The groom's family arranged a reception where they hosted a gathering of about 250 people. The guests were treated to a meal of sweet rice, roasted chicken, beef curry and eggs.

FFC also put on a reception for Swapna, after the wedding.

Hasina and the FFC School

Hasina came to FFC when she was three months old. For the last 2 years she and six other students have been living in a hostel while studying in Grades 11 and 12. All of the girls failed one exam in their 12th year, and because of this, they failed the whole year. Next year, however, they can write the exam again. So, in the meantime, Hasina is working in the FFC school, earning a salary, living in a hostel and, along with the other students, hopefully studying.

Special Meal

Anita has reported that she helped the children celebrate a government holiday by purchasing 25 kg of chicken for a special lunch time meal. She was very happy to make the donation because the children really enjoy a good chicken curry Liton and the ayah's worked very hard to prepare and serve the meal.

Anita, in the blue and white shirt, came to FFC as a baby. She has now graduated from university, has a good job, and lives independently in a hostel with other young women.

New Shoes

The children at the Dhaka project have received a gift from Mr. Sohel, who teaches the children about computers. He raised donations from his friends during the Eid festival, and when Mr. Sohel learned that the students need new shoes for school, he went with Sikha to the Bata store and bought shoes for the children attending outside schools. The price was so good, that it turned out they could buy shoes for the children in the FFC school as well.

Exams

The second term exams for the FFC school are now over. All the students participated and apparently did quite well.

A Happy Girl

Lipi is one happy girl as she is reunited with her mom! She came to FFC at the age of 4 just after her father died. Her mom could not take care of her. Things have changed and she will be living with her mom. Lipi is now 19 and has been attending our school for children with special needs.

American International School

FFC Dhaka has always been closely associated with the American International School, and our children are always welcome there. The kids love the large playground, which gives them a chance to run and play sports. Shujon has sent word of some of the activities there, including games with the students from both FFC and the AISD.

Anita The Gymnast

Anita is still performing as a gymnast. Recently, she competed in the National Gymnastics Competition, and finished second on the balance beam. Anita has also graduated from university, and has now been hired to work as a Registry Officer at the university. Anita wrote to say that she is happy that things are going well in her life.

Awards For Children

On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day 2016, the DUAR Foundation arranged to give awards to talented specially challenged children. A total of eight children were selected for that award from four different institutions and organizations in Dhaka, including CRP, Swid Bangladesh and FFC. Elizabeth Richan, the project manager of the AHEAD project at Queen's University Canada, works as a partner to the CRP organization. The photo at right shows Mridula, who received an award for her class work and a song and recital performance, and Kajol, with her award for the progress she made in class work.

Several volunteers are seen working at the school with a number of different children, sometimes in groups as well as on a one-to-one basis.


Special Care School

Shujon has sent photos from the Special Care school.

Sports and Culture in Dhaka

In early February, the FFC site in Dhaka moved into a smaller, less expensive apartment building. Most of the children changed schools and are now attending a government sponsored school.

Shujon reports that the new public school held the annual sports and cultural program day. The FFC girls participated and all performed well. Rubi and Bonna were involved in the dance event, and Josna sang a song.


Two Sisters

Muriel Hemmes has sent along the story of two sisters, Sumi and Rumy, who are sixteen and seventeen years old respectively. Eight years ago, their parents experienced problems, and their uncle had to take responsibility for the girls. However, the uncle did not have the resources to look after them and did not want to leave them alone at home while he worked. Their mother asked a local organization that supports women and children to take them in, and the girls were sent to a temporary shelter home. Then the organization turned to FFC for help. The girls are now back living with their father and his new wife, and FFC makes home visits to check on their well-being. The two sisters, standing on the left in the photo, are both talented dancers.

Happy Holidays

Shujon reports that the students in the Special Care program were busy making paper decorations for their classrooms, to mark the holiday season. A number of local university students took the time to help by working with the Special Care children.

Liton also reports that the school examinations have taken place. Liton was there and notes that all the children did very well. Liton, who has been with FFC since he was a child, is seen in the background of the photo at right.

School Exams

Liton has reported that the FFC site in Dhaka has received a donation from the Lions of Dhaka for the purchase of school clothing. All the school children in Bangladesh wear uniforms.

Clothing Donation

In Dhaka, a group of young students, interested and involved in social work, sometimes make use of their own money to provide and distribute items for the benefit of poor and helpless children. At the time of Eid, they generously donated new clothes, and provided new dresses for 42 of the FFC children. The young students also arrange henna festivals for street children in various places, and offered to do this at the FFC site. Some of the older girls who are good with Henna can take part in this, and in this way also take part in some local social work.

A total of about 100 children and their care staff were invited to the party, all dressed up in their finest, and another fifty children and staff were treated to a meal at the FFC site.

Ramadan In Dhaka

Shujon and his friends arranged for an Ifter party, to mark the first day of Ramadan. The event was set up in a resort in Gazipur, about 45 minutes from FFC by bus. Generous donors arranged the transportation.

Gold Medalist

Anita is a top gymnast in Bangladesh. She is 23 and FFC has been her home since she was born. Anita received a scholarship to attend an excellent boarding school which specializes in sports and academics. All her fees were covered from grades four to twelve.

Anita is now in her fourth year at university, and she is studying economics. Every Friday she takes a group of children to her gym. Her coach, wearing the yellow shirt, also works with the children.

The American School does a lot for the FFC children, and the kids love going, to use the playground, swimming pool, and theatre. Above, some of the children in the AISD playground. At right, a special feast put on for five of the student teachers on their last day with the Special Care section.

International School

The FFC site in Dhaka received an invitation to 60 of the children from the American International School. It was the holiday break so all of the older children and the home school kids were able to go. When they arrived, the children were served lunch and then enjoyed a play in the theatre.

The drama that was presented was on the theme of a rhyme called "Five Little Monkees" and those present said that the Special Care children performed very well. The photos show some of the singers and dancers who took part in the cultural program.

Bangla New Year

Once again the FFC project in Dhaka has celebrated the Bangla New Year, which took place on April 14th. The second day of the celebrations featured a cultural program consisting of Bangla music, dance, drama and recitation.

Hand-Writing Competition

Shikha has reported that eighteen of the FFC Dhaka students have participated in a hand-writing competition, while another group of students are busy in rehearsal preparing for a cultural show.

Two of the FFC girls, Nila Akter and Bonna Akter, are shown at right after they received a certificate and a prize for their work.

FFC has been receiving a very generous grant since 2006 from the RR Smith Memorial Fund Foundation, which is affiliated with the BC Retired Teachers Association, and this year's grant will pay for the art students art college fees & supplies.

Dhaka Art Students

The FFC project in Dhaka has been supporting five art students, who are now in their 4th and final year of art college. FFC has been paying their school fees as their families could not afford to do so. These art students went to a high school for deaf students with one of our former girls.

Doctors In Dhaka

The Babylon Garments Ltd company is a big supporter of the FFC site in Dhaka. The company doctors have been coming to visit the children and carry out medical examinations. Recently two of their doctors and a manager dropped by. The doctors saw everyone at the site, and handed out candy to the children. They pay special attention to the special needs children, and the kids love to see them visit.

Roof Top Football

The Special Care students and staff in Dhaka enjoy playing football, up on the roof of the FFC building during the afternoon school session. The roof is on the seventh floor and as you can see, the students are clearly on top of their game, and play with a high level of enthusiasm.

Special Meals

Shujon is our manager in Dhaka. His specialty is working with special needs children. Recently he reported that Mahfuz Ahamed, a generous local donor, has been providing the children with a special lunch every month.


The most recent meal menu featured rice, roast chicken, beef curry and a salad. The children love these special meals.

Art Students In Dhaka

Shikha, shown second from left, is one of the Dhaka managers. FFC has been supporting six students who are now studying at an art college. Their families could not afford to give them financial help, so FFC helps them with food, tuition fees, and medical expenses. Recently, three of the art students visited the FFC office, and gave Shikha a portrait they had painted for her.

Cooking In Dhaka

It's dinner time, and time to prepare one of the children's favourite meals - green papaya mixed with potatoes, pieces of chicken or an egg on rice with very hot green peppers. Asma, wearing glasses, attended the Swedish training centre while Muriel was in Dhaka. She is now working at the garment factory with some of the other FFC girls.

FFC Choir

The students at the FFC Dhaka site have been attending singing and dancing practice sessions in the class room. The girls are rehearsing for the December cultural program. Shujon and Shilpi are helping to prepare the girls for their performance. Mredula, our little Albino girl, loves to sing and has a great voice. Her eyesight is failing and she usually wears dark glasses indoors and out.

FFC Students At College

During her last trip to Dhaka, Muriel Hemmes visited some of the FFC girls at college. At right is 14 year old Minera. (Yes, another FFC girl named Minera!) She had been with FFC since birth and has been attending a school for blind students. She seems very happy and was proud to show us her classes, dormitory and dining room. She also introduced us to her teachers and friends.

We also have another seven girls in grade 11 at a government college. They celebrated with Muriel by having lunch (rice and chicken or egg) as well as drinking cokes and having an icecream bar. Only one of the girls is homesick for FFC. At left is their dorm room where 18 girls sleep. They did not feel crowded, but Muriel did! Nurunnahar is shown wearing black She is very artistic and hopefully she will attend art school when she finishes grade 12.

A New Beginning

Minera is an FFC girl who now works at the Bitopi Garment factory. (We have several girls named Minera) The FFC girls receive training at a Swedish training center, and the Bitopi factory has a manager who works only with the girls from this center. Many changes have taken place since the collapse of Rana Plaza two years ago. The Bitopi factory is very modern, with bright lights, fire escapes, regular fire drills, new wiring, good ventilation, day care on the ground floor, and new employees need a grade eight education. Minera has been working there for over a year. She earns about $80 a month, gets paid for overtime and has her own bank account. As Minera said to Muriel Hemmes, "This is the beginning of a new life for me."

Ruma And Minera

Ruma and Minera weave at FFC. Both of these young women earn a monthly salary for their work. Ruma is shown at right, and she always has a big smile.

The scarves that Ruma and Minera make are sold in Toronto and Montreal. Minera is shown at right. Minera is a very competent weaver, and in time we hope that she will be able to teach some of the younger girls.