Networking in Asia – Bangladesh and Thailand

|   Asien, Aktuelles, Reisen

At the end of May, the head of KAAD's Asia Department, Dr Anselm Feldmann, travelled to Bangladesh and Thailand.

In Bangladesh, the visit’s focus was on exchanges with local partners, while in Thailand, the exchange with our scholarship holders from Myanmar in Bangkok and networking with organisations of development cooperation in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, was the main aim of his visit. Chiang Mai, as well as the northern region of Thailand as a whole, is a particularly important destination for refugees from the neighbouring country Myanmar.

The visit to Bangladesh was intended to enable a first personal meeting between the responsible persons from KAAD and the partner committee and also to contribute to a better understanding of the needs in the country. For this purpose, meetings were held with representatives of the partner committee, Father Patrick Simon Gomes and Dr Benedict Alo D'Rozario, the Archbishop of Dhaka, Bejoy Nicephorius D'Cruze, the Deputy Ambassador of Germany in Bangladesh, Jan Janowski, the Head of the Country Office of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Dr Andreas Kuck, and the KAAD alumni in Dhaka. In addition, several parishes in and around Dhaka and a school were visited. Bangladesh is a very young (median age 26.7 years; statista) and very dynamic country. It is also the most densely populated country in the world. Particular challenges in the field of development cooperation are the challenges of climate change, especially drinking water supply, urban development, renewable energies, offshore deep-sea fishing, the justice system and workers' rights, and last but not least the refugee issue, especially of the 900,000 Rohingya in the refugee camp near Cox's Bazar. For KAAD, it is a particular concern to deepen the cooperation, to strengthen the partner committee and to establish an alumni association in the future. We are also pleased about the re-election of our alumnus Dr Benedict Alo D'Rozario as President of Caritas Asia.

While in Bangladesh the focus was on the work with the partner committee, in Thailand the focus was on the exchange with and support of our scholarship holders from Myanmar. To this end, networking with non-governmental organisations and church institutions in Northern Thailand was expanded. In Chiang Mai, Anselm Feldmann met with Father Dung Pham SJ from the Catholic Student Network in the North of Thailand. The programme, led by Father Dung, offers educational programmes mainly for students from the ethnic minorities in the North of Thailand. These minorities such as Karen and Shan (Tai Yai) often live on both the Thai and Myanmar sides of the border. At the meeting with the scholarship holders from Myanmar in Bangkok, it was possible to address various questions posed by the scholarship holders. They also reported on their ad hoc engagement for localities in the areas affected by Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar. This commitment once again shows the dedication of KAAD scholarship holders to their societies of origin.