STARS REMINDED OF THE HARSH REALITY
England’s cricketers have not seen much of Bangladesh outside of their hotels and the grounds on this tour due to the heavy security. However, they had a very moving and meaningful experience on Tuesday evening when they heard first-hand from survivors of acid attacks during a function at the British High Commission in Dhaka.
The UK Government is funding a programme to help victims of violence in the Asian country, where up to 80 per cent of married women are subject to domestic abuse.
Among the worst cases are those who are disfigured for life by cowardly acid attacks.To address the issue the Department for International Development is supporting programmes in Bangladesh that ensure victims have access to security, justice and health services. They also work with men and boys to tackle the root causes of domestic violence.
England’s players attended the event to raise awareness of the issue and the UK’s efforts to help combat it. They heard from five survivors of abuse, the youngest of who was just 16.
Afterwards the players were able to ask questions, with several insightful queries being diligently answered by the courageous speakers.
England captain Alastair Cook said:“Everyone here is very brave to be talking about the stories, and it takes a lot of courage and conviction to talk about something which is obviously so horrendous.”
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was also in attendance.
He said:“I’m pleased the England Cricket Team had the opportunity to learn more about the Department for International Development’s work in Bangladesh.
“We have been left in no doubt that the UK’s efforts in supporting victims of violence, particularly acid attacks that sadly see such prominence in the country, are changing lives and giving those affected the physical and psychological support they so desperately need.
“I am sure the visit has been a moving and educational experience for the players.”
There was also a speech at a drinks reception afterwards by Alison Blake, the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, spoke of how this tour has sparked “cricket fever” in the country.
Bangladesh are clearly grateful England have made this trip and as well the sporting impact it has made, Tuesday’s event also brought home that the tour is about much more than just cricket. By CHRIS STOCKS
Emotional meeting: Alastair Cook meets acid-attack victims who have suffered domestic abuse during a function the British High Commission