Crown Princess Victoria's Study Trip to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka: April 2005
Is that today Princess Victoria visit Bangladesh and Sri Lanka?
News from Victoria in Bangladesh!
Both Aftonbladet and Expressen today reports that the Crown Princess has landed in Bangladesh and the region of Rangpur. And in contrary to what Victoria is used to meet on her trips around the world – there will be no five star hotels and luxury dinners in this very poor country.
Instead she will have to adjust to a simple everyday life during her visit. Last night, a one-engine plane from the 50’s took her from the capital of Dhaka to the region of Rangpur in the north parts of the country, and instead of the normal five star hotels she will stay in a very Spartan hostel – the only place with running water in the village she is staying in. One "luxury" has been placed in her room, a mosquito net over her bed…
The past few days she has had some private time in Japan, and the Crown Princess commented to Expressen:
- It’s nice to be able to relax a day or so before going to Bangladesh. I have to have time to rest a bit. One gets tired when the schedule is so intense.
In Bangladesh, the Crown Princess will visit women who fight against poverty in the region she is staying, and a centre that fights against cholera- and diarrhoea diseases.
Pictures of the place she's staying at, from Fotomarktplatz:
The Royal Court reports that the Crown Princess has started her trip to Bangladesh today. They say that she will travel together with the World Food Programme to the districs of Rangpur and Dinajpur in the north west part of the country, and with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.
She will also visit projects that are run by Lutherhjälpen (the Church of Sweden's help organisation, of which she is protector), receive information about Cyclone Preparedness Programme and other International Federation of Red Cross activities in Dhaka.
Thanks for the info and photos, GrandDuchess. When I was reading about the hostel Victoria would be/is staying in, I pictured something much worse than those photos. I really admire Victoria for getting out of her 'comfort zone' and seeing what the real world looks like. It's not very often that people have the courage to do that, so good on her. I for one, have never been to a country with extreme poverty and diseases (I haven't even been outside of Australia!), so I have no idea how these people live, except from a few photos which aren't really useful. I hope that this trip provides Victoria with invaluable lessons and a greater appreciation of her own life and situation, while helping others.
Thanks for the article and photos, GrandDuchess. Bravo to Victoria indeed. It´s very good work they are doing in Bangladesh. I hope with the spotlight on Victoria and the work done there that more people will help out those who need it. Since independence(a bloody ordeal on a mass scale) in 1971, there has been more than 200 disasters causing 500,000 deaths in the Bangladesh. Last year there was some really horrific flooding. Almost a million dwellings were destroyed, more than 3,000,000 damaged and millions of inhabitants temporarily or permanently displaced. There are also some political tensions that I heard about recently. Assassinations by grenade attacks in Dhaka itself. That mosquito net will come in handy too because malaria is a big problem in Bangladesh as well. Bravo to Victoria and the good people at the International Red Cross, Lutherhjälpen, WFP, and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.
Victoria: Det är skrämmande att se
Här tvingas kronprinsessan Victoria se fattigdomen i vitögat.
Människorna hon mötte på landsbygden i Bangladesh i går är på gränsen till svält.
– Det är skrämmande att se. Man känner alltid att man borde göra mer, säger hon.
Det var två världar som möttes i går i norra Bangladesh. Kronprinsessan Victoria, en av Sveriges mest förmögna unga kvinnor, träffade kvinnor i samma ålder som försöker hålla sig själva och sina familjer vid liv på bara tre, fyra kronor om dagen.
– Jag är intresserad av fattigdomsfrågor. Det är jag själv som bett om att få komma hit till Bangladesh, säger hon.
– Vi får inte blunda för fattigdomen. Vi ska också se på allt som görs för att bekämpa den.
Barnen i området hålls i praktiken vid liv genom kex som FN delar ut i skolorna.
– Kexen tillgodoser 75 procent av deras näringsbehov för dagen, berättar Khawja Kutubuddin på FN:s matprogram.
Kronprinsessan hjälpte i går till med utdelningen.
– Åh en riktig prinsessa, sa ett av barnen på Nitchapura-skolan när Victoria kom med kexen.
”Väldigt rörande att se”
Hon träffade även Momina Khatoum och Nazuma Begun, två unga kvinnor som fått framtidshopp genom ett hjälpprojekt. Tack vare små banklån har de kunnat köpa några djur. Äggen och mjölken de producerar säljs. Vinsten de får betalar både av lånen och ger familjen inkomster.
– Det är viktigt att lära fattiga människor hjälpa sig själva. Detta är ett bra exempel. Det är väldigt rörande att se de här kvinnorna lyfta sina familjer ur fattigdomen, säger kronprinsessan.
Sri Lanka nästa
Det är Victorias första besök i ett så fattigt land som Bangladesh. Tidigare har hon varit i Etiopien och Uganda.
– Men detta är fattigare, säger hennes mentor Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg.
I morgon fortsätter resan i Bangladesh. Senare åker kronprinssesan till Sri Lanka.
Victoria in Bangladesh
Crown Princess Victoria visiting a UN World Food Programme project in Rangpur in Bangladesh today, Wednesday 12 April, aiming to provide healthier food to women and children. From Fotomarktplatz:
More news from Bangladesh. About how the police and SÄPO had to push the crowd. Aftonbladet writes that the police hit little children when they got to close to Victoria...
Victorias convoj is beeing escorted by 20-something armed policemen
btw, should we have a thread about her visit to Bangladesh aswell? Just like we had with Japan and Australia?
Quite a modest place she's staying at eh?
The Crown Princess in Bangladesh
Here are some pics of Crown Princess Victoria, on Thursday 14 April, attending a meeting at the Micro Credit Union in Kurigram in northern Bangladesh. The Micro Credit Union, that gives women credit to start a small business, is a project by the Swedish aid organisation Lutherhjälpen (the Church of Sweden's help organisation, of which she is protector). From Fotomarktplatz:
The Crown Princesss in Bangladesh
Today Crown Princess Victoria took part in a Red Cross/Red Crescent project's cyclone exercise in the Nohakali district in Bangladesh. Picture from the Royal Court:
Victoria impressed by micro-credit, other programmes in north Rangpur
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has appreciated NGOs' micro-credit and other support programmes to empower women in northern districts. She said she is impressed to see that a large number of distressed people, particularly women, in Rangpur and adjoining districts are becoming self-reliant with assistance from NGOs.
"Bangladesh is an example of poverty alleviation with micro credit support from NGOs."
The Crown Princess visited a number of villages in Rangpur, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat districts yesterday and the day before and talk to a large number women who became self-reliant with micro-credit.
She was on a two-day private tour of Bangladesh.
Earlier, she was received by Swedish Ambassador in Bangladesh Borje Mattson, World Food Programme Country Director Douglas Casson Couts, Director of Church of Sweden Aid Christer Akesson, RDRS Executive Director Kamal Uddin Akber when she arrived at Syedpur airport at about 10 am on Tuesday.
The princess reached Balapara union complex in Kounia uapazila in Rangpur at 11:00 am on Tuesday. She talked to a number of BRAC's women beneficiaries who told her their past and present conditions.
They told her that three or four years back they were totally helpless as they had hardly any means but now they are self-reliant.
They also told her how BRAC and WFP supported them. The princess also visited Nijpara Govt Primary School in Lalmonirhat Sader upzila to see WFP's Nutrition for Education Programme.
She talked to students, teachers, parents, NGO representatives and the local administration about the programme in schools.
She gave 'fortified' biscuits to poor students and donated sports materials to the school.
From Nijpara, she went to Mogholhat in Lalmonirhat to see how women acquired assets with resources they got as wages for excavating leased ponds under Integrated Food Security Programme.
During conversation, she called the IFS beneficiaries 'strong women'. The princess also talked to women beneficiaries of RDRS at Balakandi and Thethrai in Kurigram district and inquired about their socio-economic condition.
The princess also visited activities under the Food for Asset Programme at Mogholhat in Lalmonirhat. WFP supports RDRS to run the Food for Asset Programme for most vulnerable women in Lalmonirhat and other northern districts so that they can be included in mainstream programmes of NGOs.
After visiting different projects of WFP, BRAC, and RDRS, Princess Victoria met journalists at Begum. She told newsmen that she was very delighted to see the greenery in Bangladesh.
She said, " Bangladesh is now in better position as regards education, nutrition, healthcare, and women empowerment."
Poverty will be alleviated fully in near future if development activities continue in this way, she observed. The administrations in Rangpur and Lalmonirhat provided tight security during her visit.
Yesterday, the princess visited different women federations of RDRS at Ulipur Upzila in Kurigram district.
Princees Victoria is the main patron of the donar agency that funds RDRS and WFP in Bangladesh.
The princess left Syedpur for Dhaka yesterday afternoon in the same plane.
Crown Princess Victoria arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Friday 15 April. She was welcomed by traditional dancers and she lighted an oil lamp at the entrance of the hotel. From Fotomarktplatz:
Crown Princess Victoria in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She visited a reception at the residence of the Swedish ambassador on April. Ellen Lansfjord gave Victoria a bouquet of flowers. From Fotomarktplatz:
Crown Princess Victoria in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She visited the slum area Blumendahl in Colombo and met several families living next door to the big municipal dump on 16 April. Swedish IOGT members informed her about a development project. From Fotomarktplatz:
An article from Expressen today.
Victoria mötte Osman. Osman bor i ett litet ruckel på gränsen till den yttersta fattigdomen i Sri Lankas huvudstad Colombo. På väggen har han satt upp en bild på en vacker orientalisk kvinna som han kallar sin prinsessa. Aldrig någonsin hade han trott att han skulle få se en riktig prinsessa promenera förbi.
Drömmen om en prinsessa slog in
COLOMBO. Osman och Victoria. Fattig och rik.
Här korsas deras vägar för ett ögonblick.
Sedan promenerade verklighetens prinsessa vidare i sopslummens gränder.
Nedanför ett 20 meter högt berg av sopor, bland öppna kloaker och råttor lever tusentals människor på gränsen till den yttersta fattigdomen i Sri Lankas huvudstad Colombo.
Platsen är Blumendahl, ett av stadens 1614 slumområden.
En av invånarna i slumområdet är Osman, som bor i ett litet ruckel.
På väggen har han satt upp en bild på en vacker orientalisk kvinna.
– Här är min prinsessa. En sådan skulle jag gärna träffa, säger Osman och pekar på bilden.
Aldrig hade han trott att drömmen skulle gå i uppfyllelse – förrän kronprinsessan Victoria i går plötsligt kom förbi.
Mötet var över på några sekunder. Kronprinsessan Victoria promenerade förbi, tittade in och gick vidare.
Fylld av lycka
Men Osman var fylld av lycka.
– Aldrig trodde jag att hon skulle komma till mitt eget hus, säger han, rörd till tårar.
Kronprinsessan själv var gripen efter att ha vandrat runt i Blumendahl någon timme och samtalat med människorna där.
”Så många intryck”
– Det är så många intryck. Jag är ganska tung i huvudet. Jag får bena upp allt när jag kommer hem, säger hon.
Hon var tagen av stundens allvar.
– Det är otäckt att se att människor lever under de förhållanden de gör.
– Ingen ska behöva leva under såna här förhållanden.
Är det svårare för en person i kronprinsessans roll att känna riktig empati för människor som har det så här svårt?
– Nej, det tror jag absolut inte. Det är individuellt. Vissa har det och vissa har det inte. Men man kan alltid lära sig det.
– Däremot så är vi alla i Sverige privilegierade. Vi har tak över huvudet. Det viktiga är att man engagerar sig och att man ser att man kan göra skillnad och att man försöker göra skillnad.
My translation of an Expressen article today!
The dream of a princess came true
COLOMBO. Osman and Victoria. Poor and rich. Here their paths are crossed for a short moment. Then the princess of reality walks on in the alleys of the garbage slum.
Below a 20 metres high mountain of garbage, among open sewers and rats, thousands of people live on the verge to the outmost poverty in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. The place is Blumendahl, on of the city’s 1614 slum areas.
One of the inhabitants in this slum area is Osman, who lives in a small shack. On the wall he has a picture of a beautiful oriental woman.
- Here is my princess. I would like to meet one, says Osman and points at the picture.
Never had he believed that his dream would come true – before Crown Princes Victoria suddenly walks past. The meeting was over after a few seconds. Crown Princess Victoria walks past, looked in and walked on.
Filled with joy
But Osman was filled with joy.
- Never had I thought that she would come to my own house, he says, moved to tears.
The Crown Princess herself was taken after walking around Blumendahl an hour or so, talking to the people there.
“So many impressions”
- There are so many impressions. I’m pretty heavy in my head. I will deal with everything when I get home, she says.
She is taken by the seriousness of the moment.
- It’s scary to see that people live under the circumstances they do.
- No one should have to live under these circumstances.
Is it harder for a person in the Crown Princess’ role to feel real empathy for people who have a difficult time?
- No, definitely not. It’s individual. Some have it and some do now. One can always learn.
- However, in Sweden everyone is so privileged. We have roof over our heads. The most important thing is that one is involved and that one can see that it’s possible to make a difference, and that one tries to make a difference.
My translation of an Aftonbladet article today!
Victoria made the children of the garbage dump smile
Good to see that they have hope despite all misery.
COLOMBO. Here Victoria meets the children who live on the garbage dump. The Crown Princess’ visit in the slum in Sri Lanka was moving.
- It’s scary to see how terrible these people have it, she says.
Crown Princess Victoria was very moved when she walked around in the garbage dump city Blumendahl in the middle of Colombo. In this country, more than 50% of the population love out of less than 14 SEK a day. The misery is almost indescribable.
“Of course I am moved”
About 60 000 people in the area live under sheet metal- and cardboard roofs. The children live in the middle of the gigantic garbage dump in the centre of the community. It stinks of faeces in the alleys. One of the aid organisation’s most important goals is to get a working sewer to the households.
- Of course I am moved. But despite all misery, it’s nice to see the children’s smiles and that they have hope, says Victoria.
Adol is 11 years old. He has learned a few sentences in English and says that he has never received any toys from his parents. Instead the little boy finds stuff to play with at the garbage dump.
- It’s the first time I see a princes. She seems nice and if I could wish for something, I would go to Sweden with her and live with her in a big palace, he says.
The Crown Princess is one of Sweden’s richest women. Is it harder to feel empathy when one is as privileged as you?
- No, definitely not. We are all individuals, but one can always learn. Everyone in Sweden is so privileged, but the most important thing is that we’re all committed in this, she says.
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