Danita Topcagic

Danita Topcagic (Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization - BERDO): Danita was raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but moved to the United States with her family at the age of fourteen as a refugee. She is passionate about humanitarian work and earned her BA in international relations from University of Missouri – Columbia. Danita received her MA in global finance, trade and economic integration with a focus in international development from University of Denver.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh

16 Jun

It has been a while since my first blog entry and the reason is my inability to decide what to write about first. I am overwhelmed with everything different and exciting that I can’t decide if I should write about the climate and the people, the culture and traditions, or about BERDO’s lovely staff and all of their accomplishments.

I am writing this draft by hand, which is a method I use most often for writing because of so many power outages. On average, the power goes out about three times during regular working hours, for an hour each time, which leaves BERDO’s staff on standby. For some of us working long hours in the developed countries this would be a treasured break if it ever happened, but for the staff here this means lower productivity as one sits around and waits. To make it a bit more challenging, the Internet connection seems to be worse during regular office hours, and if one should download large files or upload pictures on the website, it is best to do it before 7am. Rise and shine!

In today’s society much of work and most of communication is conducted via computers and Internet, and the people working in developing countries face additional obstacles as they struggle to keep up with newer technology to allow for more efficiency. BERDO would like to purchase a generator to be able to keep the computers working during power outages, but so many other things make a priority
than this one.

Another factor to consider for the working environment is the climate and its impact on people’s
ability to work and be productive. Maybe I am only speaking for myself when I say that the profound heat and humidity make my head fuzzy. Also, I am sure that overtime people get used to these working conditions. But the severe weather reaching 100 Fahrenheit and the intolerable humidity in the summer makes me less productive as I am constantly wiping sweat of my face, refreshing in the bathroom, and always on the lookout for the best breeze in the office. And the worse is yet to come as the rainy season brings floods and cyclones, but I guess that will be a topic for another entry.

Finally, I wonder how BERDO has been able to achieve all their accomplishments especially considering the fact that 10 out of BERDO’s 32 staff are disabled, including the executive director who has been blind since age 6. Amazingly, BERDO has been working on the development of people with disabilities for 17 years and they have been expanding their organizational
activities to provide more services and raise public awareness about disability issues. I guess you can call it hard work and determination, in spite of all of obstacles they encounter.

To view my pictures please visit Flickr website:

Posted By Danita Topcagic

Posted Jun 16th, 2008


  • Trudy Fraser

    June 16, 2008


    Great blog, Danita, and great photos. We are all watching your progress with interest and best wishes. Keep up the good work!

  • Brian

    June 17, 2008


    And I thought Missouri’s heat and humidity was bad. I may be a little bit envious about cyclone season though.

  • Tait Robinson

    June 18, 2008


    Hey, hey Danita, thanks for a great blog and congrats on diving into dhaka!!

    If i put together something remotely as good from Ghana i’ll let you know….on that note, if you guys do anything in ghana lemme know, i’d love to stop in and say hey, and perhaps there’d even be some potential partnerships we could look at as i’ll be working on a certain amount of community development and health-related projects/initiatives.

    well listen, you take care my friend and we’ll be in touch.

    all the best!!


  • Tait Robinson

    June 18, 2008


    i just tried posting something and it didn’t work!

    the essence of it all was: good luck, have fun, you’ll do great, lemme know if you guys do anything in ghana, stay well, safe travels, and i’ll be in touch!!

  • Tait Robinson

    June 21, 2008


    I’m working with Newmont Mining, they’re based in Denver and one of the world’s largest gold mining companies. They’re also extremely progressive in what broadly equates to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which is why i’m working with them. I was here last nov/dec and liked what they were doing. So i’m back here for the summer (i leave the end of august) working with Newmont’s Environment and Social Responsibility (ESR) group. Local partnerships are desirable, though partnerships with larger ngo’s, io’s and non-profits occur as well….it really just depends. But unlike a place like uganda, NGO’s aren’t crawling all over this country. don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot, but there’s certainly identifiable gaps here, some of which advocacy, empowerment, human rights and social justice programs may fall into. For example, we have to engage in resettlement at new sites, and this amounts to hundreds or thousands of people. we’ve got a great community relations team, but there’s always room for new ideas, better practices, etc. Well i’m sure this is far more than you wanted, sorry about that!!

    As for bangaladesh, i’m looking forward to your next update….BBS was doing a story on Dhaka a couple days back and i thought of you.

    Keep it up, stay well!


  • People

    April 14, 2009


    There are almost 10 Lac (ONE million ) litigation pending in District Court and Higher Court of Bangladesh for a prolonged period and increasing everyday ,.

    Most of these are due to force full occupation of land of innocent land owner having law full title right and clean documents by the Local miscreants

    But surprisingly Government Organization like Land Survey Directorate , Settlement Office and their Subordinate Office accept Such type of force full occupation as legal one .

    As a result force occupation of land or homestead are increasing everyday throwing the innocent owner of Lands in helpless position,

    Our Law Ministry and Ministry of Land , Ministry of Local Government may kindly take proper action at earliest possible time.

    And unfortunately there are no accountability also in any of the above mentioned offices

    So this is BANGLADESH

    Kindly circulate the same in possible


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