Non-monetary donations

Besides monetary donations, Friends of Bangladesh are ALWAYS looking for donations of mobile phones, laptops & digital cameras that are out-of-date, especially ones that are lying around and you haven’t figured out how to ethically get rid of them. (Don’t worry if you think it’s so out-of-date that no one could possibly want it – they can still use it).
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We pass these items onto Bangladesh Kishani Sabha and Bangladesh Krishok Federation where they use the phones to keep activists in contact with each other & the head office. Phone credit is pretty cheap b/c the country is so tiny but so heavily populated, but cheap decent-brand phones are hard to come by and even 2nd hand ones can be pretty expensive. (I know of one guy who bought a 2nd hand Nokia with its plastic back missing, for the equivalent of a bit less than $20AUD. And this guy lives on about $40AUD/month for food, rent, the works). Don’t worry if you don’t have the charger or the battery doesn’t work well any more … those components can usually be found super cheaply in Bangladesh. Ditto smashed /cracked screens – fine.
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They use donated laptops in the central office. At the moment (well, last I heard), I think the office was still limping along with a 10 year old laptop that had been donated by some activists in the USA. It’s often in high demand, with a bit of a hierarchy of who gets to use it. The young organisational members who are currently students in Dhaka are definitely bottom of the pile (even though their computer knowledge is often superior). The computer is used not only to keep in email contact with international supporters and the international networks they are part of, but also to manage keeping down costs by doing their own scanning & printing their own stuff (e.g. if they have to apply for visas for conferences, etc), and they use it for writing up & disseminating press releases, etc.
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Finally, the cameras are used by activists in the country areas to document what is happening. Documenting abuses & their resistance, in particular, are powerful ways to show the world what is happening to them, and how they are responding. When they are attacked, or worse (a leader was murdered last year – vale Abdul Karim), having evidence is vital. Likewise, when they protest, form human chains and rally it’s important to have proof of their strength and numbers. In the past, central members have gone on overnight bus journeys to special events in rural areas just so that there is a digital camera there to document it (of course, there are other benefits like to support the event & maintain links, etc).
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If you have any of these items email us at friendsofbangladesh@hushmail.com
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Thank you!

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