What we do
EchoStars Inc was established for the purpose of raising funds to give to the Bangladesh NGO Society for Lowest Urban Mass (SLUM), to complete the construction of the Bright Stars School (BSS) in the Vatara Slum District of Dhaka, in Bangladesh. Up until August 2014 EchoStars worked exclusively with SLUM to provide funding for the schools construction and to develop other support programs to help the students and their families live a sustainable lifestyle.
2014 saw the school construction completed with a comprehensive and fully functioning primary education program for its 150 ultra poor children who live in grossly underprivileged conditions.
With a major corporate donor offering financial stability to the school BSS will begin its 2015 school year with 200 students.
Rose Figtree, the founder of EchoStars has been travelling to Dhaka for many years and decided to start EchoStars as her way of helping in a lasting way. Through her travels she realized that no matter how overwhelming the issue of world poverty is for people living in developed countries, when you see it up close in the flesh the need to help cannot be ignored.
Without the desensitising effect of television the connection to the gross level of poverty that exists makes you realise that whatever you do is going to be better than doing nothing. So began EchoStars as her way of helping in a very tangible way.
The EchoStars committee members for 2015 are :
- Rose Figtree – founder and chair
- Celeste Rosetto – vice chair; a university lecturer and long time committed Rotarian
- Nick Illek – treasurer; a certified accountant
- Gina Ryman – secretary
- Robyn Kremer – a retired teacher and founding supporter and vice chair of 5 years for ES.
- Michael Williams – retired secondary school Career Counsellor. He is committed to EchoStars goal in providing opportunity through education.
- Aliki Darlow – a lawyer
- John Leijer – businessman and long time committed Rotarian
- Maryke Archbold-Hessian - Marketing Officer-Education
NSW Department of Primary Industries and committed community worker
- Veronica Brinkman – marketing consultant
- David Turnbull – financial advisor
- Sandra Adams – social media advisor
- Janice Gestro – administrator and long time ES supporter.
What better way to help make a difference than to build a school for slum dwelling children who have no access to education.
How it all started
Rose met an Bangladeshi educator Chitto Halder who was once a slum child himself but through the intervention of the mission schools was fortunate enough to receive an education and then to go on to receive a Masters in English from Dhaka University.
Instead of working in one of the international schools or major NGOs where he would have a good middle class income Chitto has continued to work with those children who most need a hand up and he has chosen to give back this precious gift of education that he received to other beautiful and deserving children.
His dream became the dream behind ES mission and together BSS was built and operated these past 5 years.
Inspired by people like Chitto, Rose set about the formalities of forming a charity and began her fundraising. Since 2009 ES has worked exclusively iwth SLUM but with BSS now fully funded ES has identified another NGO in Bangladesh that is also an Australian based charity; Co operation in Development (CO-ID).
ES has resolved to keep its affiliation SLUM and fund a secondary scholarship program to keep the BSS students in school beyond grade 5 graduation from BSS. Other ancillary programs will also be operated in cooperation and agreement with SLUM for BSS students. As well as ES affiliation with SLUM ES will be fund raising for its 2015 program aimed at supporting CO-ID on Bhola Island Bangladesh.