Work and Travel in Bangladesh
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BANGLADESH FOR TRAVELLERS
Bangladesh is a relatively new country created out of old West Pakistan, which borders the northeast of India. Not many people think about work and travel in Bangladesh, but why not do something truly different with your time this year?
Our travel guide to Bangladesh is going to show you some of the work opportunities available and when you should consider travelling this country.
1. Help the Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is experiencing a refugee crisis due to the ongoing persecution and near genocide of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma. Thousands of tents for refugees have been installed along the border areas and they need your help.
International charities are crying out for people who want to work in Bangladesh to help these people. With little government help forthcoming, anyone who has skills in care, education, or the medical field is highly sought after.
It can take a lot of bureaucracy to secure a position, and you will usually have to apply via an official charity or someone connected, but you can make a huge difference to these people’s lives.
2. Develop Communities in Rural Bangladesh
Did you know that 60% of Bangladeshis live below the poverty line? This has led to extremely poor communities all over the country but especially in the rural parts of Bangladesh.
Get out of the cities and away from the classic tourist destinations and take up one of these rewarding volunteer opportunities in Bangladesh.
Farmers are in particular need of help because small-scale farmsteads tend to experience regular flooding and a lack of fresh water. You could be building walls, helping with irrigation, or just helping to construct fortifications against the flood waters.
3. Raise Awareness through Youth Clubs in Bangladesh
Another option open to you could be to join some sort of youth club (or children’s home) in the capital Dhaka and help raise awareness of specific issues.
During your work in Bangladesh you’ll be working with young children to educate them on the basics, such as sexual health, child marriage, and health.
These may sound like simple things to Westerners, but there is little to no education on these matters in the country. You can help provide young Bangladeshis with important lessons that will set them up for life.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BANGLADESH
Bangladesh allows only 23 countries in the world to enter the country without a visa. Nearly all of these are in the Caribbean and parts of Africa.
However, don’t let that deter you. All European Union (EU) states, the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and Russia are able to obtain a 30-day visa-on-arrival. This is an easy process and shouldn’t take you too much time.
For extensions, or a longer visa, you will need to visit a Bangladeshi embassy and already have a secure volunteering opportunity in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is different from most countries in that they specifically mention countries that are ineligible for the 30-day visa. Among these are Mexico, India, and South Africa, who will have to apply for a visa in advance if they want to travel in Bangladesh.
Take note that Bangladesh is one of the few countries in this part of the world that bans entry by Israeli citizens, under Bangladeshi immigration rules. For more info click here.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BANGLADESH
The spring season is the pre-monsoon hot season and is an excellent time to take on some of the outdoor community development projects in Bangladesh.
This is an especially busy time for farmers because the monsoon season requires a lot of preparation to protect as many of their crops and holdings as possible. Anyone who is versed in construction will easily find positions as part of home stays when they work and travel in Bangladesh.
Try to make sure that you’re close to the cities as it’s quite possible that you will be cut off during heavy monsoon rains. You don’t want to get stuck in a remote area of Bangladesh for a few weeks, or even longer.
The summer season is the monsoon season. It lasts from June until October and many parts of the country are isolated as dirt roads are flooded. It’s why the spring season has so many available volunteer opportunities in Bangladesh.
So what if you want to work in the summer?
We recommend sticking to the major cities like Dhaka. Education projects are popular amongst backpackers in Bangladesh at this time of year, as they escape the monsoon rains.
You could take up a position teaching English in Bangladesh or educating younger children on matters like hygiene. See what’s available by the time you travel in Bangladesh.
Autumn encompasses the final part of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. We recommend that you refer to the previous section for volunteer opportunities in Bangladesh for the majority of the rainy season.
During the dry season, there are more outdoor positions available. Many poor villages require help to pick up the pieces of the, sometimes, violent monsoon season. In some areas, flooding is heavy and there’s no support from the government.
Helping out after the monsoon can be a great way to meet local people and support their communities.
The cool, dry winter season is the perfect time to move to the more remote border areas and help with the Rohingya. These people are in desperate need of help and there’s never enough volunteers to help everyone.
The deteriorating situation in Burma means that the number of refugees with nothing is swelling on a daily basis.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BANGLADESH
So what is work and travel in Bangladesh really like?
More people than you think speak English, due to its previous history as part of the British Empire. There’s a significant language barrier in the rural areas, so you need to be prepared for that.
Be mindful of the volunteer roles you take because this is an impoverished nation where paying jobs are hard to come by. You’re unlikely to experience any real hostility, if you’re ethical in your volunteering, but be prepared to get some strange looks. Tourists are a rarity here.
Do you have what it takes to work in Bangladesh?