Hi! My name is Ken Ford-Powell
(I'm the pale-looking guy in the picture!) and I am trying to raise money so that a very special lady can make a big difference to her home country.Ria Mollick
(the only girl in that picture!) wants to train in business in the UK, to obtain an internationally recognised qualification and then return to Bangladesh to help other women be empowered. You may remember the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka last year killing over 1,000 poorly paid garment factory women. That disaster wasn't the first nor the last to happen to Bangladeshi women. Ria wants to help bring this to an end by empowering women to stand as equals with men in the Asian business world. Bangladesh desperately needs women like Ria but often girls are abused and it is often dangerous for them to reach higher studies.
Ria is a young lady I've known for many, many years since she was a little girl. I met her while doing voluntary work at an English medium school in Bangladesh. She was bright, articluate and lovely. I had the pleasure of teaching her through O levels until, age 16, she left to do A levels in Dhaka, the capital city. In fact, the picture above was taken on the first day of her O level exams.
Living on her own, without her family, she battled daily life for two years in a troubled country where violent demonstrations and battles between rival political groups took place almost daily and Ria even had to teach herself one of her subjects as the school had no teacher partway through! Her determined outlook on life has amazed those of us who know her.
Last year, Ria completed her A levels and has now won a place at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom to study Business Studies. My family and I have pledged to support Ria by giving her a home and paying her food and lodging with us. But as we have only just returned to the UK after five years of voluntary work in Bangladesh, we can't pay her university fees. Ria needs to have collect enough money by the end of April
that she can prove to the University she has the fees to take the course, otherwise, she will lose her place. Offline, we already have the fees for her visa application promised and collected.
Help us to raise the money need to pay Ria's fees for this year. I am producing an e-book about Bangladesh to sell which I hope will raise more funds longer term but we urgently need generous donations just to get Ria here to the UK at all. I will include donor names in the acknowledgements of the book and will send a copy free of charge to all donors who provide email addresses, as a thank you.