It started when Tasmiha Khan went there with her family and visited a young woman living in poverty.
“Her name was Usma. She was about 15 years old. Had three children. Was forced into poverty at that time,” she said.
Khan started doing a few things to help that family, and when she came back to the U.S. she kept helping, forming a charity called Brighter Dawns .
In the past year and a half, they’ve gotten donations of just about everything. Once it was art supplies for little kids. They were so much in demand once they got to Bangladesh that each kid could only have one crayon. But those kids were still ecstatic. That’s exactly the kind of grass roots impact the students here at Wesleyan want to have.
“In our classes we hear all about issues in our world like poverty and disease and things, and we want to be able to make an impact, but there’s not always an outlet for that,” Wesleyan student Kim Muellers said.
The students of Brighter Dawns are now mostly focused on sanitation and water, raising money to build latrines and wells.
“It’s amazing how aware I am now of how much water I use, like when you take a 15 minute shower, when you’re washing dishes,” Rajeeta Iyer said, “and just to think about the fact that these people don’t have that at all.”
No they don’t, a fact that hit home for Tasmiha when she was explaining hygiene to a Begnali woman.
“She told me that we’d be happy to do what you’re telling us, if we had the means to do so,” Kahn said. “And that just struck me as ‘wow, That was silly.’ I didn’t realize that they didn’t have clean water that’s accessible and safe.”
The group has several other chapters in the works on other campuses and they’re trying to win the Dell Social Innovation Competition. They’ve got the backs of people in Bangladesh, and we’ve got theirs.
For information on the group and their mission visit http://brighterdawns.org/