By supporting Golpata, you are supporting impactful initiatives.What We Do
We exist to serve our community.Our Why
Our Children's Shelter
Our first and foremost responsibility is to our children.See our Savar shelter
Our Career Youth
We created Golpata to create jobs opportunities for disadvantaged youth.How We Hire
Our Working Women
We fund programs to emancipate women from poverty.How we empower women
We fund education for over 200 students from the slums of Dhaka.Learn about LEF for Life
Whenever we can, we provide support to equally purpose-driven friendship organizations.Hear from Our Friends
Golpata was born as a way to provide stable funding for the community work of our founders and friends.
Our profits go directly to serve the following so that such programs do not have to rely solely on donations or fundraising:
- Food, education, health and daily living costs for children in our shelter in Savar
- Employment opportunities for young adults and families in need, especially disadvantaged youth and women
- School in Dhaka for over 200 students from slum communities
We wouldn't be who we are without an unwavering commitment to our cause, and we wouldn't exist without your support.
Dutch Shalom Family for Children
In Savar, a village about 3 km from Dhaka, our founder runs a shelter responsible for 40 to 50 children in two dormitories split by gender. These children, ages 5 to 21, from all over Bangladesh, are either orphans or have parents who cannot provide for them. Their family circumstances are so bad that the parents had to send them away. Or often, we have children who have run away from home or were abandoned, left to fend for themselves.
At Savar, we provide them full board, access to primary and secondary education, and care for their health and wellbeing, including food, clothes, medicine, etc. Most of the students are with us full-time. A small handful stay in a boarding school for nursing or technical courses, and some are here for educational support, but live with parents unable to bear school fees. All religions reside together in peace, and special care is taken to ensure gender equality among our children and staff.
As adults, some move onwards to university, vocational training, or apprenticeships. Some may return home to take care of their family. Some may even join our team. We try our best to support our children even after they become adults, including higher education support, career training, life guidance and counseling, and our former students often return the favor by supporting the newer cohorts. Together, we hope to create a long-standing impact on village communities all over Bangladesh.
We co-operate with a Bengali minister, who provides shelter for 30 boys and girls. His organization is called Shalom Mission Trust of Bangladesh, and the name of his shelter is Shalom Family for Children. Our shelter in Savar is thus aptly named as a branch of this trust.
To run a children’s shelter properly, we need a significant amount of money just to cover daily expenses. Large organizations, more accustomed to donating for building houses, schools, or hospitals, simply do not have budget for this. Giving money to feed individuals is not something bigger NGO's normally do, thus Golpata was created to serve this purpose.
Working at Savar Shelter or Golpata
Between our children's shelter in Savar and Golpata's Bed & Breakfast accomodation, we have used our operations as an outlet for hiring young adults from villages or direct from our shelter. This way, they can earn an income to financially support their parents, children, relatives, or marriages, or make ends meet when they are in between education, training, or jobs. Many of our staff come from these backgrounds and, as a result, are especially caring to Savar's children and Golpata's guests.
A Golpata Learning Experience
In addition, teenagers and older students from our shelter and neighboring schools love to spend time in Golpata as way to build internship experience, practice English, and meet people from other parts of the world. Using Golpata as an outlet, we aim to empower young adults wherever we can.
You are welcome to talk to our staff to hear their stories when you visit us in Dhaka.
Female emancipation is still a foreign concept in many parts of Bangladesh, especially in the countryside. Being the family caretaker, women traditionally cook, bear children, and wait on the husband. Women are rarely allowed to earn surplus income elsewhere. Polygamy (and divorce) are strictly the husband's prerogative. Unfortunately, some men who lack the financial means to provide for one family will still have more than one wife, each with many children, leaving each wife essentially a single mother.
In many instances, parents are inclined to marry their daughters off to the first suitor so that there is one less mouth to feed. This practice means, however, that women left alone with children are an all too common occurrence. Because the erstwhile husband will soon prove to be disappointed with his bride, these single mothers are expected to provide for themselves and their children without any support. Such life is not so different for widows, who, shunned from society, can hardly remarry or find steady work. And if they do find a new husband, he likely won't be interested to take care of any children from an earlier marriage.
Sewing and Embroidery Project
Dino Halder of LEF for Life Foundation has taken an interest in the fate of women from impoverished, downtrodden circumstances, and now teaches them sewing and embroidery. From bedclothes, tablecloths to gift items, many beautiful crafts are being made in Bangladesh. These handicrafts take time and practice to learn, and the women need careful guidance on a daily basis to master the high quality of their work set for selling.
Our program provides not only training, salary work, and atelier in which to work for the women, but also daycare services for their children. Many of them also send their children to the nearby school that Dino runs. Thanks to this opportunity, the women can make an income to support themselves and their children without needing to rely on an absentee husband or resorting to drastic measures. They also develop transferable skills that they can use to find other jobs. Most importantly, the women develop a sense of security and self-assurance that enables them to face the hardships in their lives and become better mothers for their children.
Golpata provides the primary source of funding needed to keep this project alive for the foreseeable future. We hope this program can continue running and reach more women who need support.
Dino Halder, a father of three daughters and teacher by profession, opened an elementary school in Dhaka in 2008 to give children from extremely poor families an opportunity for a high quality education. The mission of the school is to bring new hope to these children, to make them feel valued and purposeful, and to give them a voice so they can ultimately change their own society.
What started originally as a special school for girls from extremely poor families, has developed into a primary and secondary school with more than 200 pupils (as of 2018) taught by 10 teachers screened by alumni from the American International School of Dhaka. The most important subjects in the first couple years are arithmetic, language, hygiene, and social skills. After, students concentrate on studies required by the government to pass the class 5 exam and, later, class 6-8 exams. Lunch is provided daily for all students; often this is their only proper meal for the day. Sometimes, Dino even provides kg bags of rice, so that parents can be convinced to allow their children to return to school.
Since the parents are often illiterate and may not see education as a priority, the school is designed to keep children's attention by fostering a love for learning. Unlike other local schools that only assess memorization in determining academic success, children are encouraged to experiment, play music (a taboo subject) and have fun in sports to preserve engagement throughout the day. You'll often find the school decorated with childrens' creative drawings and classrooms with lively discussions. This innovative style of teaching was initially employed to attract children to return to class the next day, but has proven to be so effective that the former elementary school had no choice but to expand into secondary education in January 2018.
Students do not pay a tuition. Instead, the school relies on Dino's salary from tailoring and donation from generous contributors, like Golpata, to cover costs for food, school supplies, computers, and textbooks. The ultimate dream is to have schools like this all over Dhaka city so that we can improve education in our country.
In addition to the projects above that depend mainly on Golpata's funding, we give as much as we can to friendship organizations making amazing strides in changing life in Bangladesh. By supporting Golpata, you are supporting them, too.
Lef in Dutch means "courage" and is derived from the semitic root for "heart". With a heart full of courage, Dino and Joanna have dedicated themselves to changing the lives of people in need.
Inspired by her job at UNICEF Bangladesh, Santona Mumtaz developed a compassion that urged her to take action for the poor women in her country.
In 1995, she started Parul Garden with an investment of only 55 Taka (USD $1), which she used to buy jute, straw, and a small salary for three women who used the small investment to create beautiful crafts.
After 20 years, they now have a dozen full-time employees and hundreds of creative talents, making a variety of products. One of the products are kathas handmade from secondhand sarees, which we use to decorate the bedrooms in our Bed & Breakfast.
Other Friends with a Cause
A sincere thank you to impactful individuals who may be without an army but never without a heart.
Lucio-bhai is an Italian missionary, who organizes groups of volunteers to visit street children in Dhaka every week, providing medical care, food & clothing supplies, and moral support. Part of weekly group also includes some of our staff and students from the Savar shelter who provide haircuts in the slums. These visits are critical in helping the street children see an alternative future. Some even found the will to join our shelter, develop themselves, and find jobs.
A dentist from Farmget, Dhaka is supplying free dental services to our students. As a successful, kind female professional, she is also a role model for the children.
A group of young adults, as part of the United Submitters International, practices religion through joint prayers and volunteer support for the needy. They have kindly been helping us with financial support whenever they can.
Nowrin from Bangla Haat supports youngsters with books, pens, and coaching. She also connects with local villages to help women market their handicrafts, including kathas made from recycled sarees, which she sells at different fairs in Dhaka.
In 2017, One Love International Society, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, presented Joanna and Dino with the Agape International Award for Education Development and Social Transformation.
Shalom Mission Trust of Bangladesh is the parent organization under which our children's shelter in Savar is registered.