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Colours of Survival: Discovering Hope in Bangladesh

Three statistics leap from the page of Adrian and Bridget Plass's Colours of Survival: the world spends $780 billion a year on the military--just $8 billion would help its people to feed themselves and $9 Billion would provide clean drinking water. Shocking, isn't it? Of course, the Plass's book is more than an exercise in stark statistics. Written to raise funds for the Christian international development and humanitarian agency World Vision, it is a funny, frank and sympathetic account of their trip to Bangladesh to visit 11-year-old Shahnaj, the little girl from the Dhaka slums they have sponsored through the charity for the last five years. The Plasses take it in turn to write and poignantly depict the appalling pollution and poverty they encounter as they tour World Vision's many projects in Bangladesh's sprawling cities and villages. An all--female savings club in Tuital, a day centre for street girls in Dhaka and the training of traditional birth attendants in Chittagong are amongst its success stories. Bridget movingly describes meeting Shahnaj for the first time. All her reserve and Western awkwardness is expelled when Shahnaj hands her a rose then takes her by the hand to lead her back to the six-foot-square shanty dwelling she shares with her brother, sisters and parents. Thanks to constant flooding, Bangladesh may well be the fifth poorest country in the world, yet the people Adrian and Bridget Plass encounter are welcoming, generous and seem genuinely to be hope filled, especially Shahnaj and her family. --Amanda Cameron

Important places

Hazaribag (1)
Chittagong (2)

Regions

Jharkhand (1)
Chittagong (3)

Countries

Bangladesh (61)
India (1,945)