Known in Bangladesh for its emphasis on education, the Seventh-day Adventist church in Dhaka recently moved outside the classroom to offer education for an often-overlooked population. Leaders from three departments in the Bangladesh Adventist Union Mission (BAUM) provided a health program called Workshop & Seminar for Better Life for the guardians (caregivers) and parents of the largest Adventist school in Dhaka.
Most of the more than 1,500 students from the Dhaka Adventist Pre-Seminary School (DAPS) are Muslim with a much smaller percentage of Hindu and other religions represented. The guardians, who are usually predominantly Muslim as well, accompany students to the school and then some wait for them until classes end for the day. DAPS leaders have looked for ways to provide enrichment for these ladies and the students’ parents.
In conjunction with the BAUM Health Department, BAUM Children’s Ministries Department and BAUM Women’s Ministries Department, DAPS hosted two sessions for guardians and parents, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, on February 1. A total of more than 250 attended.
During the sessions, Dr. Litton S. Halder, BAUM communication director, emphasized the importance of health for all.
Mrs. Mahuya Roy, Women’s Ministries director, shared about the opportunities and responsibilities of women. Attendees earned prizes for their correct answers to Roy’s questions which made the audience very attentive.
Mrs. Young Moon Lee, BAUM Women’s Ministries director, explained the benefits of a vegetarian diet and demonstrated how to make kimchi. Her session was very popular with the guardians since this Korean salad/condiment can be easily made with inexpensive, local ingredients. They also enjoyed the samples and took samples home to share with their employers, family members and relatives.
In terms of follow-up plans, Roy will offer this type of seminar format in different schools, missions and institutions. Interestingly, the guardians wanted to take photos with Mrs. Lee and “asked her to do these types of programs as often as possible,” according to Halder.
“All the parents and guardians appreciated and enjoyed our programs very much. Some of them have invited us to conduct these types of programs in their own schools and institutions,” said Halder. “We had a very good time of sharing our health, family and children ministry messages to our Muslim, Hindu, and Christian friends as well as people from other religions,” he added.
Bangladesh is home to more than 30,000 Adventists in over 120 churches with more than 170 rural schools, 10 urban schools, and nine boarding schools in the predominantly Muslim country. Its population is slightly more than 90% Muslim and less than 9% Hindu with Buddhism, Christianity and other religions making up the remaining less than 1% of the population. Bangladesh is one of the 14 countries in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division territory.
 2011 Census Report. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. http://bbs.dhaka.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/bbs.dhaka.gov.bd/law_policy/6ed6b42c_2015_11e7_8f57_286ed488c766/Socio-Economic%20and%20demographic%20Report%202012.pdf