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Human Story

Hello from London with Gratitude

  • A.T.M. Zahirul Hamid (Selim)
    Former National staff of General Affairs
    Duration of service: Oct., 1988~Jun., 2010

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I worked for the JICA Bangladesh Office for 22 years. This was practically my first job, and I got it immediately after returning to Bangladesh from Japan, where I studied for one year. I was always happy and proud to be an employee of JICA and I always enjoyed my work.

However, frankly, it was not always easy for me to work for this Japanese governmental organisation for Japanese staff in Bangladesh because of the continuously heavy workload and the sociocultural differences between the two countries. For example, as Japanese people regard punctuality as a matter of course, I always tried to accomplish all my duties in time. However, it was often very difficult and I had to make extra efforts especially because communication and transportation systems in Bangladesh are not as developed as in Japan. We Bangladeshi staff provided the necessary support to hundreds of Japanese staff and visitors for the smooth operation of their work during their stay in Bangladesh. But our work was also often hindered by an unstable political situation and natural disasters, which were beyond our control. I always tried very hard not to let Japanese people suffer in my country.

Despite the difficulties, I always enjoyed working for the JICA Bangladesh Office, because both the Japanese and the Bangladeshi staff always worked in harmony. I consider this as one of the finest qualities of the JICA Bangladesh Office. There was a strong human bond, and we all respected each other and helped each other. I always felt that both the Japanese and the Bangladeshi staff were just like my family.

I left the JICA Bangladesh Office and migrated to England with my family for unavoidable personal reasons in 2010. I have settled in London and now work for a well-known private company. As I was well aware that it was difficult for South Asian immigrants like myself to get a job in England, I was mentally ready to struggle for survival here. However, I got this job only three weeks after moving into my new house in England. I believe that I was able to get the job within such a short period because of my work experience at the JICA Bangladesh Office. I was confident in my ability to work in difficult conditions because I knew that most work places are not as challenging as the JICA Bangladesh Office. In fact, I have not had any difficulty working in London, a cosmopolitan city, among people with many different cultural backgrounds.

I enjoy my new life and work here in England, and I do not regret my decision to migrate. However, it is also true that I lost something very valuable in my life. Most likely, I will never again have the opportunity to work at a place like the JICA Bangladesh Office where every employee works with the others like family. When I left the JICA Bangladesh Office, Dr. Takao Toda, who was the ninth Chief Representative during my service, gave me a hearty send-off as though he were saying goodbye to his own son. All the other members also gave me their blessings and wished me well as though they were bidding farewell to somebody very close to them. I miss all the staff of the JICA Bangladesh Office very much. I never have a day when I do not think of them. From here in England, I pray for the peace, security and prosperity of all Japanese people and Bangladeshi people and the two countries.

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