Are you willing to support this project? This is possible by performing a money transaction on the account ING 8822689 at the attention of 'Stichting Niketan' by mentioning “Aylin & Roos”.



woensdag 12 januari 2011

Bangla Meeting

Very unexpected Aylin ended up by an unplanned meeting of several NGO’s at the 10th of January in Tapra. Since Aylin was not familiar with this meeting she asked Ahklas(Niketan’s manager), who brought her there, how long this meeting was going to take and when it would start. Ahklas discussed with the chairman and some other members and told it would start at 11AM and would take an hour. She explained she actually had no time for this meeting in fact of a very busy project schedule and knew on for hand 11PM means 11.30PM and one hour can be also four hours. Since all those meetings are in Bangla and no single word is in English she did not see any value for her. When Ahklas seemed to be very disappointed she changed her mind. Project work could also be finished during the evening.

First some tea was served. The chairman explained that today the minister of the Manikganj district would attain the meeting. This seemed to be very special. The 11PM planned meeting started at 12PM without minister. Also a lot of other required members not seemed to be present.
Ahklas explained the chairmen discussion point of today was time management. The only things Aylin could understand so far was: foreigner, Netherlands, 5 minutes, 1 hour, schedule, work. Ahklas mentioned the chairmen took the hour ago discussion between me and Ahklas as example.

Although this chairman kept on talking Aylin got the notion that nobody was listening. Participants were answering phones every minute, even the chairman himself. Neighbours were talking about daily topics and started their own discussion. Sometimes even the chairman seemed to speak only to the man in front of him. Then suddenly the minister was arrived. This seemed to be photoshoot time. This in fact several gadgets were handed. Of this moment a picture had to be made in companion with the minister and the relevant person. This photoshoot took 15 minutes and afterwards the minister immediately has to leave in case of his schedule. Taking the lunch which was served afterwards was not even possible for him.

This lunch contained several warm snacks, fruit and drinks. The meeting kept on going, just like the making phone calls, chitchatting and standing up. Even Ahklas and Aylin started talking about whether the warm snack was spicy or not. When the lunch was finished, the meeting was finished.
Well, so far we can conclude time management is a definition Bangla people are not yet familiar with.  

donderdag 6 januari 2011

Testing the models

So the research part is finally finished and the models are done. Aylin has made 4 models which contain different kind of materials and Roos has made 6 models which all contain a different diaper shape.
Aylin already tested her models on the absorption level. And the mothers of Afroza’s Place tested the models of Roos whit one of the boys who is not toilet trained.
Both these tests gave clear results. So now they know which materials they will use and what kind of shape the diaper must be. Next week focus lies on the integration of the two aspects and they will further develop their designs. And Aylin will also start the business part: How much will it cost? Is this new diaper indeed eco friendly? With whom does the team want to do business in further developing?

dinsdag 4 januari 2011

Individualism vs. Collectivism

At the BAT expo Roos and Aylin meet a cotton factory which was worthwhile it to investigate. Aylin scheduled several meetings – since this was her part of the research – but due the illness and a very tight schedule of both parties, several appointments had to be rescheduled.
This time they scheduled a meeting the 2nd of January right after Roos and Aylin’s adventure cruise which ended at a place 4 hours travelling away. The day before both parties discussed and confirmed the appointment and everything seemed to be all right.
When Aylin almost reached the factory’s location she received a message containing the question: “How many of your are coming?”
The factory’s owner knew the project description and therefore knew Aylin was working in team, but without knowing how many members the team counted.
Aylin replied: “Just me and the driver. Roos is unable to come cause has a very busy schedule by her own.” In short the man answered: “This is not acceptable!! Roos is a very good friend of you. Since you are working in a team you both had to come. You had to inform me about this!!” This message was followed up by another message in which he explained he planned another meeting. Next time when Roos or Aylin wanted to visit his factory he only would provide a tour when both of them would show up.

From a Western view of point this sounds insane. The book called Cultures and Organizations, by Geert Hofstede can be used to explain this situation. Hofstede describes that the majority of people in our world live in societies in which the interest of the group prevails over the interest of the individual. These societies are called collectivist societies. Children that grow up in a collectivistic society learn to think of themselves part of a “we” group, a relationship that is given by nature but is not voluntary. The remaining people in the world live in societies in which the interest of the individual is prevailed over the interest of the group. These societies are called individualistic societies. Children of individualistic countries learn to think of themselves as “I”. When taking a look at the Individualistic Index(IDV), The Netherlands can be described as 4th most individualistic country in the world. While The Netherlands has a score of 80, Bangladesh has a score of 20 and can be seen as one of the most collectivistic countries. While individualistic countries tend to be rich, collectivistic countries tend to be poor.
So what happened that day? The company’s boss sees management as management of groups, while Roos and Aylin think project management is management of individuals. Approaching the company alone seemed to be unthinkable in the boss’s points of view. While Roos and Aylin think dividing tasks saves time, is more efficient and stimulates project development… Mm, how to explain this..

maandag 3 januari 2011

Home visits

Roos finally went on the home visits that were planned for so long. She visited 2 girls and 3 boys who are not toilet trained and are not able to go to the daycare centers. They are not able to go to the daycare centers since the parents are not able to bring their child. This can be for several reasons.
When the home visits were done, the conclusion can be made that the children at Afroza’s Place have a very good live. Their live surroundings are supreme according to some of the surroundings Roos has seen.
These children’s life will be so much more hygienic if they would wear a diaper. For example: one boy was covered with an estimated 80 flies since his mother was working all day and let him urinate on the bamboo table she made.
Every child has a different story, there was also a child for whom the mother already made some kind of diaper. But the children had one thing in common: they would all like us to make a diaper for them. Unfortunately none of the families are able to afford a diaper. Making an alternative on the diaper for free is not possible for the design team. So for further developing more sponsors are needed who will invest in these kids. 


woensdag 22 december 2010

Culture show

The 20th of December one of the physiotherapists proudly pronounced that there will be a culture show the next day. A culture show in Dhaka, for entertaining the disabled children and all the performances were also by disabled children. This was planned in the world disability day, but was canceled last minute.
Aylin and Roos wanted to go to this culture show! Roos doubted if she would go but Aylin couldn’t go because she was still too ill. Eventually Roos went on her own to Dhaka with a bus full of disabled children.
Since the bus also carried some of the children that would perform, we arrived very early. This way Roos could have a look on the Dhaka University, where also the culture show took place. The best university of Bangladesh looked very ‘old school’. Furthermore Roos did not have the time to look around since the debate was going to start.
There was a lot of press present which surprised Roos. Eventually she ended up in two news programs. But the most important thing was that the children seemed to enjoy themselves (except for the debate part). The culture show contained singing, dancing and a fashion show. It was nice to experience, and it made Roos a bit proud.

maandag 20 december 2010

Aylin & Roos are back on track

Aylin is still recovering from her illness, but Roos feels much better. Together they entered their design studio and started designing.
As said before, Roos her focus lies on the user and helper and Aylin her focus lies on the materials. And in the end, the different aspects will be integrated into one model.
The design studio
The research part is almost finished. Since the project follows the Bengali tempo, not all the data are collected yet. For example: the home visits Roos planned to do, are already 3 times rescheduled!
Though the girls entered their design studio. They have collected enough data to start the designing process and they could not wait for restarting the project again.
Aylin already made a few models which contain different kind of materials. And Roos is busy with making her helper- and user-friendly models.
In a few days Aylin and Roos will start their vacation. With Christmas they will be in Dhaka visiting the touristic places and eating non-Bengali food.  And after Christmas they will started their journey to the Sundurban: the largest mangrove forest in the world.

woensdag 15 december 2010


After the world disability day, Roos became sick. She thought she would give the street food a try; it didn’t work out that well. She lay in bed for more than a week. When she was sick for 3 days, the bacteria also found Aylin. She became very sick and after 3 days we decided to go to the diarrhea hospital in Dhaka (with an ambulance). The doctor over there told with pride that the hospital was specialized in cholera patients. A “you have it, or you have it not” hospital. Aylin had it. After 3 hours in the hospital we went home. Aylin should be in bed for 5 to 10 days, today is her 5th day.
Roos is starting to feel a bit better and she is ending her user research now. But still the project lies a bit behind schedule. Next week we hope to start (finally!) the designing process.
So this is a short message with a big experience.