An Evening with the Bangladeshi Diaspora in Toronto

On a cold and rainy night in Toronto, the Chawk Bazar restaurant began to swell with visitors greeted by the delicious smells of Bangladeshi cuisine and the sounds of sitar music. Over 30 members of the Bangladeshi diaspora gathered as guests of Diaspora Gives Bangladesh and CAF Canada for a night to celebrate the people and culture of Bangladesh, as well as the power of diaspora to affect change.

Our night began on the red carpet as first, second, and third generation diaspora members met new acquaintances and greeted old friends. The assembly—a lively and mixed group of entrepreneurs, executives, community leaders, and more—sampled Bangladeshi delicacies from the restaurant as photos snapped and busy servers skillfully weaved through the group. Making up a large part of attendees were members of the Bangladeshi Canadian – Canadian Bangladeshi community group, one of the largest of its kind.

As the mood settled, Ted Hart, President of CAF Canada, asked everyone in the room to introduce themselves and answer the question: what does Bangladesh mean to you? For many, feelings of comfort and nostalgia were obvious answers. Unanimously, however, it meant affection, resolve, and pride.

When reminiscing about their home communities,  being welcomed with open arms and witnessing a certain joie de vivre were how many of the diaspora described their experiences visiting Bangladesh. The conversations continued around the role of diaspora communities in both, making the new members feel at home in Canada, as well as giving back and supporting their home communities in Bangladesh. The group welcomed and was eager to learn about CAF Canada’s Diaspora Gives Bangladesh (www.diagives.org), a program aiming to facilitate the philanthropic engagement of the Bangladeshi diaspora to support their home communities in Bangladesh. Perceptive and insightful, it was clear through the questions asked that this group had experience with charitable endeavours and had knowledge and desire to create direct positive impact on the ground in Bangladesh.

Great conversations, of course, became even better with great food! The menu was curated by the establishment’s entrepreneur owner, Fahim Mohammad himself, and included Bangladeshi delicacies such as Shahi Tukra, Shorshe Murg, and fish Pakoras. Jovial conversations could be heard all around as guests enjoyed the delicious treats and discussed community news, family updates, and of course, Bangladesh.

The night concluded with farewells all around. Guests ventured back into the cold Toronto night warmed by food, good will, and good company. CAF Canada and the Diaspora Gives Bangladesh program were honored at being among such a welcoming, distinguished, and motivated diaspora community.

To find out how you can give safely, securely, and strategically to causes you most care about and the organizations that focus their work on these causes in Bangladesh, visit our vetted organizations page.