The owner wants to turn it into a hospital but that will require financial support
Young people with limited financial means in Hamzani village of Kalihati, Tangail, have the opportunity of a far better wedding experience than they ever dreamt of, because of a lavish community centre built for them to use free of cost.
Retired assistant engineer Moazzem Hossain of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) used all his savings -- Tk1800,000 -- to build the 3,300 square feet community centre and an appealing pond, a playground for children, and a garden, on half as much land beside it.
The ground floor of the three-storey Boishakhi Bhaban is primarily used as a community centre. Moazzem wants to turn the building into a hospital that will provide free medical services to the poor.
HM Tarek, the eldest son of Moazzem, is an orthopaedist at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Every Friday he sees patients of the village at Boishakhi Bhaban.
Moazzem says: "In the beginning my son would check the medical condition of the patients for free, but most of the 80 to 90 patients who came every visiting day didn't have any problems. So, we decided to fix a fee of Tk100, and now 40 patients on average come for a checkup each week.
"I have used all my money for Boishakhi Bhaban. The building has 30 rooms where I want to provide hospital services to the poor. But basic medical equipment might cost around Tk2.5 crore, which is impossible for me to manage on my own.
"If my sons can manage financial aid from the government or other organizations, in future we might set up a hospital for people who need it."
When asked why he wanted to help the poor people in his community instead of spending the money otherwise, he said: "I had no problems in my family. My children are all well established. My younger son is a production manager at a pharmaceutical company since graduating from the University of Dhaka. My daughter is now married after completing her studies. Since I moved to my village, I always felt sad seeing the life challenges of poor people.
"I am often invited to marriages by my neighbours. At one of the weddings, I saw the dining arrangement beside a cowshed, and at another, food served under a modest pandal in very little space. This is why I decided to build a proper community centre where weddings and other programs can be arranged in an open space which will also offer a good view for the guests.
"Two years ago, when we just finished the construction of the building, a large hindu bridegroom party arrived at our village. I offered the bride's family to have the wedding program here. The festivities of the hindu wedding went on for two days and a good number of villagers crowded the place to enjoy the show."
Afroza Aziz, wife of Moazzem Hossain, said: "I have given 2.5 bhori of gold for the construction of the building. My husband has always been an honest man. He joined RHD as a sub assistant engineer and retired as an assistant engineer.
"Throughout his professional life he was never party to any corruption, despite facing challenges because of his honest nature. He is a son of a farmer and loves the villagers. He wishes to serve underprivileged people the rest of his life."