Words from the President
Over the past three decades, the Foreign Office Spouses Association (FOSA) has been functioning with a noble objective to reach out to some of the people in need in Bangladesh. Assisting the most vulnerable remains a key driving force of its activities. As a not-for-profit organization, the member of the Association across the Bangladesh Missions abroad also holds and engages in events to promote Bangladesh. In Dhaka, the Association observes some of the occasions with a view to present those before the international community in the country. Obviously, the activities and engagements of the Association are quite wide ranging. We engage in holding annual diplomatic bazaar, fairs, etc. Aside these, round the year, the Association provides a platform for its members to share the varied and multi-cultural experiences with the diplomatic community in Dhaka. In the process, the senior members try to pass on the life experiences and skills that they have gathered to the younger members of the Association.
In the life of a diplomat, the role of spouse continues to remain a critical and ever expanding reality. The Association provides its members an opportunity to prepare themselves with a view to present a most ideal face of Bangladesh to their peers abroad.
Decades back, when I stepped into the Bangladesh diplomatic family, I was cautious and perhaps also nervous of the challenges facing as a spouse of a diplomat. In so many ways, stepping from one country to another with completely different living and cultural experiences proved me with an exciting life. At the same time, in my own times, as a bystander of diplomatic life and profession, I could observe how the norms within the diplomatic circle have undergoing gradual changes. Like my esteemed predecessors in the Association, I had to apportion time and space out of my own engagements to reach out to my family as well. All these should surely speak of a degree of resilience required of all of us.
The activities of the Association, to me, is one of the threads that continue to connect with the present members of the Association and a distinguished body of seniors who founded and build an enviable tradition of FOSA. We value and recall their contribution most profoundly. It is my pledge to reach out to them in all possible manners and to draw upon their experiences and insights. In so many respects, those are invaluable.
FOSA recognizes that a growing number of lady diplomats joining the foreign service like many other Services. This is indeed yet another hallmark of progression in Bangladeshi diplomatic corps. In order for us to reach out to their spouses, we have contemplated over transforming our Foreign Office Wives Association (FOWA) to Foreign Office Spouses Association (FOSA).
Over the past one-year, I benefited from support from the members of the Association and the guidance from the seniors. I would seize this opportunity to acknowledge their valued contribution and assistance.
I would wish all members and their families the very best in their lives
Sonia Sultana (Nasreen)
For the visitors of the FOSA’s website link, I would like to underline some of the work that has been accomplished successfully and with great pride during the period of 2013-2014.
We held a couple of meetings with the purpose of demonstration various skills such as table setting, napkin folding and cooking (traditional sweets like Pithas and assortment of cakes). We’ve also had demonstrations of jewellery making (such as earrings and necklaces) with beads. We’ve organized a luncheon for the for the ex-FOSA members (wives of former Ambassadors) so that the ever-growing community of FOSA members is kept strong and lively and the experiences of each member can become learning curves for other members.
We held a charity event for the victims of Savar (Rana Plaza) and FOSA donated the money collected (approximately Taka Three Lakhs) to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
FOSA also organized a cultural program for the Bengali New Year (PahelaBoishakh) at Shugondha State Guest House. This event was organized through the help of all FOWA members, the children of the officers and the officers of Foreign Office. The participation of FOSA members, their children and Foreign Office officers in the cultural show through singing, dancing and poem recitals was an emblem of the immense talent and creativity and it has been a wonderful experience.
We’ve also raised funds for Zakat with the intention of helping members of the staff at the State Guest House, Padma. The FOSA members also took part in a one-dish Iftar party and DoaMahfil during Ramadan.
FOSA arranged another charity program in the form of a fair at the State Guest House Padma (pre-sale). The money collected was distributed amongst the Foreign Office fourth class employees in order to assist them medically and also to assist them with the costs of their children’s education.
FOSA also tries its best to look after the general Social Welfare of our/its staff members at the State Guest House, Padma, Meghna and Shugondha and the fourth class employees of the Foreign Office by providing them with monetary assistance in the time of their need.
In 2013, a certain amount of money from the Japan-Bangladesh Friendship Association was sent to FOSA through the wife of the Bangladesh Ambassador in Japan. This money was then donated to the Asian University for Women in Chittagong.
We also participated in the WVA fair this and our participation and success at the fair is the fruit of the hard work done by all the FOSA members.
Rashna Farruk Siddiki
General Secretary, FOSA