YES Programs



Providing Medical and Flood Relief in Bangladesh

A medical student takes the blood pressure of a patient.

By Faiza Amira (YES 2021 - 2022, Bangladesh, placed by AFS-USA in Rochester, NY) and Prottay Roy Chowdhury (YES 2021 - 2022, Bangladesh, placed by ASSE in Manchester, IA)

After the heavy monsoon rain this year in Bangladesh, many low-lying regions in the country were flooded, which in turn affected a lot of lives living in those regions. The people of Bangladesh who live in remote areas and do not have easy access to healthcare were impacted the most. People in Sunamganj of the Sylhet division were among the people who were affected the most and more than 4.3 million people of that region were impacted by the sudden flash flood according to a statistic by WHO published on July 1, 2022.

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Due to this devastation, Bangladeshi YES Alumni Raisona Alam (YES ’19) and Faruque Ratul (YES ’10) decided to organize the project “S.O.S: Save Our Sylhet,” to provide free medical check-ups and medicines to the flood affected people. Project S.O.S is the fourth iteration of YES Alumni Bangladesh’s recurring project Medical Camp for Flood Victims. Previous medical camps for flood victims were held in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

An alumnus checks patients into the flood relief medical camp.

In the project “S.O.S: Save Our Sylhet,” YES Alumni Bangladesh organized a medical camp at Taherpur village court in Sunamganj, Sylhet. During Raisona’s exchange year, she saw how a storm devastated her host community, and how everyone from that community came together to provide shelter and aid to the less fortunate people. The memory left an impression on her mind. Similarly, being able to engage in community projects during their respective exchange years has taught all the YES alumni important life skills such as management, effective communication, and leadership acumen.Therefore, Raisona was able to form a team of volunteers from YES Alumni Bangladesh to help her organize this project.

People waiting in line outside the medical camp.

The YES Alumni invited ten doctors from the International Federation of Medical Students Association-Bangladesh to conduct the camp. In addition to receiving free medical checkups and free prescriptions, over 450 families received free medicines purchased with the funds raised from the project. Some of the free medicines were donated by two leading pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh, Beximco and Incepta.

People inside the camp waiting in line.

In order to finance the project S.O.S, YES Alumni Bangladesh arranged three fundraising events, and also conducted crowdfunding in Bangladesh and among YES alumni in the U.S. The three fundraising events were a henna festival, a debate workshop titled ‘Orators for Sylhet,’ and a gaming contest named ‘Defenders for Sylhet.’

Alumni hold poster saying "Save our Sylhet" outside the flood relief camp.

The medical camp started at noon of July 22, 2022, and went on for four hours. The camp was able to serve around 450 patients among whom many were elderly and children. The patients’ ages ranged from 5 to 75 years old. The alumni helped out with crowd control, patient registration and medicine distribution. The opportunity to help people who had either lost everything to the flood or were very seriously ill for a long time, and could not afford to go to a doctor, were the alumni organizers’ favorite memories from the project. Through this project the YES Alumni of Bangladesh were able to touch so many hearts, and they said that the project is forever going to be imprinted in their minds.