From the Field

Former sponsored child now helping lead refugee response in Bangladesh

Atul Mrong, 42, is deputy operations director of World Vison’s response in Bangladesh. Atul, who grew up in a poor Christian family in Bangladesh, says he feels a connection to the displaced Rohingya. “They remind me of me,” he says. “Our financial situation was not good. I had six sisters. I was the only son. My parents were not educated; they were illiterate. My father could only sign his name.”

One memory stands out. “When I was studying in grade eight,” he says, “the most money I ever received was 10 taka. My mom said I could use it for anything I wanted.” Atul kissed her. He was overjoyed even though 10 taka is just 12 cents. “That memory helps me remember how poor I was,” he says. “As a child,” he says, “I could not even think about what would happen in the future.”

Atul’s life changed when he was sponsored through World Vision. “The sponsor who helped me came into my life as an angel of God,” he says. “From class three to now — my education, tuition, moral education, school fees, tuition — all came from World Vision. They really helped me grow.”

Atul, like many of the refugees living in Bangladesh now, was surprised that someone would invest in him. “The sponsor did not [meet] me,” he says. “He was just looking at my picture,” he says. “Based on that, they trusted me. Out of that trust, they sent generous support. That generosity and confidence in me changed my life.”

What Atul’s sponsor poured into him, he now pours out. “Sponsored children become good people,” he says. “It makes us good employees.” And working for World Vision is different, he says. “It is not just work. It is the call of God. God chose us to work with the vulnerable. It’s a call we must answer.”

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