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Oxfam’s 50th-anniversary celebration initiative in Bangladesh

An organization named ‘British Bangladeshi Friends of Oxfam’ has taken the initiative to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the multi-faceted activities of UK-based international charity Oxfam in Bangladesh. On this occasion, a ‘charity dinner’ has been organized at the Royal Regency Hall in East London on October 5.

The event was announced at London Bangla Press Club on Thursday in a program titled ‘Meet the Media’. The charity dinner will celebrate Oxfam’s contribution to Bangladesh as well as raise funds for the organization’s humanitarian emergency projects.

It was informed in the meet the media event that Julian H. Francis will be the ‘key note speaker’ at Oxfam’s 50th anniversary event in Bangladesh. He was chief coordinator of Oxfam’s refugee relief program in 1971. Francis, who received the ‘Friends of Liberation War’ award given by the Bangladesh government, is now a full citizen of Bangladesh. Bangladesh High Commissioner to UK and Ireland Syeda Muna Tasnim will be the chief guest at the charity dinner.

The funds collected from the dinner will be spent on the people of various areas, including Sylhet, which have been affected by severe floods recently. Oxfam will use the money in partnership with various local organizations. Tickets for a table for 10 people at the dinner are priced at £500.

It is said in a written statement at the ‘Meet the Media’ event that in 1970, Oxfam started operations in Bangladesh by standing next to the people who were victims of severe cyclones and floods. Oxfam played an incredible role in providing food, shelter and medical supplies to millions of displaced people in the wake of the liberation war in 1971. After independence, Oxfam has played a role in rehabilitating refugees as well as natural disasters and poverty alleviation in newly independent countries.

In the event, various examples of Oxfam’s work were highlighted and it was said that the most notable of Oxfam’s various service activities during the Liberation War was the provision of 100,000 doses of cholera vaccine within 72 hours. Apart from this, the agency also provided high-nutrition food powder, toilet facilities and warm clothes and blankets to the refugee camps.

Besides the relief activities, one of Oxfam’s biggest works was the publication titled ‘The Testimony of Sixty on the Crisis in Bengal’. There, the situation of the people of war-torn Bengal was discussed in the eyes of 60 foreign dignitaries.

British Bangladeshi Aziz Rahman is one of the patrons of Oxfam. He has been associated with various projects of Oxfam in Bangladesh since 1992. Aziz Rahman said, “Even though Oxfam has been doing wonderful things in Bangladesh for years, they don’t advertise or brag about these things.” But we, as beneficiaries, Bangladeshis should acknowledge their contribution, thank them and celebrate their wonderful work.’

In the event, former Oxfam officer Uday Shankar Das recalled various works during the liberation war and said that Oxfam had carried out a huge campaign in the UK to provide warm clothes and blankets for Bengali refugees. The slogan of the campaign was, ‘Take a blanket from your bed and give it to Oxfam.’ People responded so much that the blankets were flown to Calcutta by a special Royal Air Force plane.