Once a child cancer patient, now Dr. Rivière

Raphaël Nahar Rivière became fascinated with medical professionals who treated him

Raphaël Nahar Rivière graduated from the University of Ottawa’s medical school on May 17. He was inspired to study medicine after surviving childhood cancer. (Kanita Khaled)

Raphaël Nahar Rivière was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone and skin cancer, at age seven. He endured an 18-hour bone transplant surgery and rounds of chemotherapy, treatment that lasted months.

It was a dark time for the little boy and his family, but there were also bright spots during his time at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Rivière remembers play rooms, clowns, colouring books and visiting dogs.

“At home we didn’t have any video games, but at the hospital there was a Nintendo and I loved playing Pokemon Stadium,” Rivière told host Robyn Bresnahan on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

Raphaël Nahar Rivière poses with his mother, Pamelia Nahar Khaled, moments after graduating. (Leslie Newell)

Kept up his studies

Rivière kept up with his schoolwork while in hospital, and his oncologist and surgeon encouraged him to keep studying.

He took their advice, motivated to learn more about his disease in particular, and medicine in general, so that he could help others the way he’d been helped as a child.

“This happened to me, but I got out of it relatively unscathed. That’s why I need to …follow this through a career.”

Rivière’s family immigrated to Canada from Bangladesh, seeking a better life for Raphaël and his sister, Kanita, and eventually settling in Toronto.

He was diagnosed three months later.

His father left the family after struggling to adapt to life in Canada while coping with the stress of having a sick child.

‘It was very special’

Rivière said his mother supported the family working a retail job, and never let her son’s illness become his focus. “You’re sick. that’s fine. But you’re going to study,” he recalls her telling him.

She returned to school after Rivière had been cancer-free for 10 years, and is currently working on her PhD at the University of Toronto.

When he crossed the stage at the University of Ottawa to receive his medical degree on May 17, Rivière said he was thinking about how it wasn’t an accomplishment he could have obtained on his own.

When he embraced his mother afterward she told him, “So proud of you. You did it! Congratulations, Dr. Rivière.”

“It was very special,” he said.

With files from CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning


Links :
CBC, Canada

VAB Canada arranged a showcase event at Fire on Ice, Uttara Dhaka, Bangladesh

VAB Canada arranged a showcase event at Fire on Ice, Uttara Dhaka, Bangladesh on 2nd February 2018. A number of patrons and volunteers were present in the event. VAB Canada receives compliments from the VAB Country director and patrons as well:

Dear Pamelia Khaled, I run short of words in appreciation of what you achieved in the dinner evening. It’s truly beyond comprehension how you could master the attendance of all your friends – 60 to 70 from educationists to business leaders, bureaucrats and armed forces. And you had been away till almost the day before! I hope to write a short description of the event with some pictures. I am struggling to find the right words of appreciation.
Best wishes,
Dr. Jasimuz Zaman
Country Director
Former Professor of Chemical Engineering, BUET
VAB Works for Humanity – Brightening the Life of the Rural Children of Bangladesh through Quality Education

Celebration of Excellence in Performance by the Rural Schools

VAB celebrated the Excellence in performance of the rural high schools in Bangladesh in an Award Ceremony on November 25 at 7.00 PM at the auditorium of Bangladesh Bank Training Academy in Mirpur, Dhaka. The Chief Guest was the Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Mr. Fazle Kabir and the ceremony was presided over by Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury. Mr. Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh was present. Mr. Choudhury holds the responsibility of secondary education in the ministry. The foyer and the lounge were tastefully and comprehensively decorated with festoons and placard of VAB and its work. While taking a walk in the lounge, the Country Director explained the VAB Model going through a large poster. The poster contained photographs of VAB programs in all the four categories and highlighted the English and computer literacy program.

The Country Director explained how VAB brings in and empowers and engages the primary stakeholders in the quality education program. The Governor was visibly impressed with the VAB approach and methodology and considered this to be the right way to get results. The Country Director stated that the three capstone projects for VAB in the immediate future will be: English skill, Computer skill and Citizenship skill. The citizenship program will be spearheaded by the Student Club program of VAB. He mentioned that already three remote schools in the villages attained 100% computer literacy. In one school, even the Ayah participated in the test with students and secured 94% marks in the qualifying test for skill in word, excel and power point.

The Award event started with recitation from the Quran, the recitation being done by Mr. S. M. Hafizur Rahman, Headmaster of Bhurulia Nagbati High School of Shyamnagar. It was followed by presentation of a video on VAB and its work and then by welcome addresses by the Country Director, Professor Jasimuz Zaman, VAB Trust Chairman, Dr. Haroonur Rashid and Ms. Pamelia Khaled, Founder and President of VAB Canada.

Professor Jasimuz Zaman brought into focus the hidden potential for quality education in the rural schools and called for joining the quality drive with VAB. He enumerated the different ways one can come forward.

Dr. Haroonur Rashid pointed out the need for funds for the annual program and also for endowment to provide sustainability of the program. Ms. Pamelia Khaled made a splash with the announcement of contribution herself and from her friends.
The meeting then heard the message from the Founder and President of VAB.
The awards were given away by the Governor of Bangladesh Bank along with the VAB Chairman, Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury, VAB Trust Chairman, Dr. Haroonur Rashid, Mr. Neaz Ahmed, VAB Board member and Professor Jasimuz Zaman, VAB Country Director.
Awards were given for schools and individuals in eight different categories based on performance with documentary evidence and experience of VAB in the field.

 Excellence in Public Examination Results
 Attainment of 100% Computer Literacy
 Enterprising School
 Outstanding Student

Ramranjan Biswas, Headmaster of Tapobon Secondary Girls’ School, Shyamnagar, Satkhira receiving 100% computer literate School Award.
Mr. Babul Hussain, Headmaster of Panchopukur Girls’ High School, Nilphamary, receiving successful school Award


 Accomplished Teacher
 Enterprising Teacher
 Enterprising Headmaster
 Successful Headmaster

Award of appreciation was given to Mr. Abul Kalam Azad for his passion and commitment to steer the Computer Literacy Program and to Shagrika Rani, Aya of Sunderban Girls High School for her brilliant performance in computer literacy test.
The Table below gives the breakdown of awards received. On the whole, Ponchopukur High School stood out on the top. Among the students, Lubna Akter Moon was the most outstanding student. Md. Nasim Ali from Kanthalbari touched the heart of the audience while narrating his life of struggle against odds.

  Four schools, Palashbari and Ponchopukur in Nilphamari Sadar Upazila in Nilphamari district, Barandali in Keshobpur Upazila in Jessore and Dayamoyee in Nageswari Upazila of Kurigram obtained awards in different categories. These schools had been supported by Bangladesh Bank for the last two years.

Shapahar Dangapara High School did an excellent job in the Employable Skills program under the vocational stream and was supported by Nabarun Welfare Trust.
Islami Academy High School was recognized as a high performing school and had been supported by American and Efird for the last three years.
VAB offered its appreciation and gratitude to the sponsors – Bangladesh Bank, Nabarun Welfare Trust and American & Efird for their support.
VAB expressed its gratitude for the active support of Mr. Amin Rahman of Rotary Club of Wheelers Hill in Australia and to his Club for helping us spearhead the English pronunciation and English drive.

At the end of the award, VAB announced the distribution of a lap top and a projector to nine schools. One set was handed over to the Bhurulia High School by the Chief Guest. The facility has been provided for the use of the student clubs. The schools will make the facility available to the Club executive committee members beyond school hours, on weekends, holidays and vacation.
Mr. Abul Kalam Rafiquzzaman, Upazila Education Official of Shyanagar, Satkhira commended VAB for the program VAB has been conducting in his area of operation. Mr. Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Government of Bangladesh, in his address, said that no other NGO in Bangladesh work with a model as the guiding instrument. He expressed great appreciation of the Model approach used by VAB. He expressed a desire to visit some of the schools to assess firsthand how the model impacted the schools. He even said he could come to VAB office when I made a suggestion to give us an opportunity to see him for an hour at his office. He mentioned about upcoming programs in secondary education. And some of those appeared to be not far from what VAB is trying to do. There was great appreciation for Dr. Rahman and others who set up VAB and for Pamelia Khaled and her group in Toronto for setting up VAB-C. The Governor of Bangladesh Bank was very appreciative of the VAB Model.

He thought it was exceptional that VAB brought into focus the empowerment of all the stakeholders and he thanked VAB for such an inclusive approach. He enumerated some of the elements of VAB Model in the four categories and drew the attention of the audience of their importance. While giving scholarship is very important and desirable, everyone must come forward to undertake the measures needed to improve the quality of education imparted by the schools. He said that he would be advising the MDs to donate for quality education and entrusted Mr. Neaz Ahmed with the task of follow up. The banks provide fund for scholarship and no doubt that is important. But part of the CSR fund for education should be directed to quality improvement. He also stated that he would like see that the banks spend 30% of their CSR expenditure to education. He announced that Bangladesh Bank would substantially increase its contribution to the implementation of VAB Model in a larger number of schools.
Mr. Chowdhury Mufad Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Government of Bangladesh, delivering his speech in the event.

Mr. Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, the Chief Guest, addressing in the event.
Professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Chairman of VAB Board, in his closing address pointed to the need for human resources development for business and industry. He mentioned that there will be large groups of teenagers seeking secondary education during the next decade. A good quality secondary education is a prerequisite for the supply of semi-skilled, skilled and professional manpower that the business needs for efficient and competitive growth in the twenty first century. The rural schools that cater the educational needs of nearly 70% of our kids should be supported actively through programs like developed by VAB implemented with well-defined outcomes in quality education.

Mr. Neaz Ahmed, Member of VAB Board, offered vote of thanks to the Chief Guest and recipients of the awards. On behalf of VAB, he thanked the officials and staff of Bangladesh Bank Training Academy for their diligence in running the event smoothly and for providing high quality catering services for the event. He expressed admiration and thanks to the VAB staff and volunteers for their dedication to make this award event a success. The program ended with a photo session followed by dinner.


The distinctiveness of VAB with personalities like Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury and Dr. Haroonur Rashid in its Board was spelled out by both the Governor and the Secretary. The schools were duly and amply recognized and the participating Headmasters, teachers and the students were delighted and inspired.There was great appreciation for Dr. Rahman the Founder- President and others who set up VAB and for President Pamelia Khaled and her team in Toronto for setting up VAB-C under her leadership. President Pamelia Khaled made a dashing presence with her youthful friends and made a lively and cheerful environment with announcements of donations from her and her group of friends , and VAB Canada donors and and handing over real Canadian money and Bangladeshi check to the Country Director Dr Jasimuz-zaman.






A few philanthropists and legends in Education

A few philanthropists and legends in Education: The annual meeting of Volunteers Association for Bangladesh! Prof. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Prof Jasimuz Zaman, Prof Dara Shamsuddin, Mr. Neaz Ahmed, Mr. Ahmed Farooque; Mr. Abdul Awal; Ms. Pamelia Khaled; Ms. Sushmita Ghani Chaya, Ms. Dilder Haseen Diptee, Ms. Hamida Ali, Mr. M.A. Shahid, Mr. Momtazuddin Bhuiyan; Mr. Syed Tamim; Mr. Munir Hasan; Mr Khandker Swanan Shahriar and Mr. Arijit Kumar Roy.

Pamelia Khaled is receiving “outstanding community development award”


On behalf of Volunteers Association for Bangladesh Canada (VAB Canada, a charity organization), Pamelia Khaled is receiving “outstanding community development award” for her team’s contribution to the needy Primary and Secondary children of Bangladesh. Award is given by the “Network for International Care and Services”, Canada.

The selection coNICAS CANADA has honoured and awarded Volunteers Association for Bangladesh Canada

The selection committee of the body of ” Network for International Care and Services Canada (NICAS CANADA)”, a renowned humanitarian, community development organization has honoured and awarded Volunteers Association for Bangladesh Canada( VABC) and its founder at a reception ceremony in Ontario Legion Hall on Aug 24 Sunday with other awardees.VAB Canada President Ms. Pamelia khaled thanks to everyone, who are continuously supporting Bangladeshi rural secondary children using all means and resources such as love, aspire, passion, offering their songs, poetry, writing, fund, wealth, physical effort and words. This award was a landmark for Volunteers Association for Bangladesh Canada.  President further notes that “we are privileged Canadian, we have the potential to impact both the Bangladeshi children and the main stream Canadian societies”. Today, it is proved that Bangladeshi –Canadian community members are able to demonstrate a stalwart commitment to enrich the lives of our next generation, fellow Bangladeshi poor and Canadians as well.

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Teachers training at Udayan School- 2014

Computer Training Report- 2014 of Udayan Secondary School

Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Program Officer & Computer Instructor of VAB conducted a 2 days training in computer at Udayan Secondary School. This computer lab is sponsored by Mr. Saiful Alam, Director, VAB Canada.

Picture 061 Picture 054 Picture 049 Picture 044 Picture 042

Eleven teachers of the school attended the training. Please see the attached pictures and the teachers information.

Have a happy joyous Eid!


Dear friends and VAB Canada family:
There are many destitute children, parents and families are going to miss this Eid festival, especially in the war conflicted zone across the world.
Let’s sit for a while and think quietly and send our good wishes for those helpless/victims through loving- kindness practice.
On behalf of VAB Canada, with a heavy heart I wish you all a blissful Eid.
Warm regards,
Pamelia Khaled
Founder-President Volunteers Association for Bangladesh Canada (VABC)