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‘He was a great symbol of humanity’

  • Published at 02:52 pm September 13th, 2020
Father Richard William Timm
Father Richard William Timm Courtesy

From education to humanitarian ground, he selflessly worked in every sector despite being a foreigner

During the 1970 Bhola cyclone, disaster management specialist Gawher Nayeem Wahra, who was then an SSC candidate, went as a volunteer with his friends from Kushtia to help the affected people in the island.

Going there, he found out that the students of Notre Dame College were distributing relief with one of their teachers - Father Richard William.

Out of their immense interest, they gathered together to see the teachers and students of that famous college instead.

Highly encouraged by the team work of the Notre Dame students, led by Father Timm, Wahra and his friends worked in full swing.

Also Read - Father Timm wanted to die and be buried in Bangladesh

“The 15 days that I spent distributing relief to the flood-affected people were the best lesson for me and my friends as we learnt a lot by being in touch with Father Timm,” he said.

“On the first day, Father Timm asked me to forget all obstacles. He said,  ‘If you can work with me with determination, just proceed. If you can’t, simply don’t follow me. We don’t know when we’ll return from here’,” recalled Warha, who also taught at Dhaka University.

The words, he said, inspired him so greatly that never did he look back all his life in any field of work.

“He has such a great personality that we can’t just make up the cost of losing him forever,” said Warha, also a researcher and an author, as he condoled the death of Father Timm.

Also Read - Richard William Timm Timeline

“Stability of a war-torn country and reconstruction of the society, badly affected by any natural or man-made disaster, are the first and foremost thing to do, which Father Timm was focused on from right after the Liberation War ended,” he said.

“I worked closely with him in the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB) and Caritas Bangladesh. But the time to work with him in school life was different,” Warha said.

Moreover, after the famine of 1974, Father Timm brought potato seeds as a supplement to rice in Bangladesh from abroad, he said, adding: “His contribution to Bangladesh was not limited to any specific sector [as he worked as an educator too].

Also read - ‘Bangladeshis will always remember Father Timm’s contribution’

“He has worked relentlessly with his vast knowledge. He has made a groundbreaking contribution in the field of agriculture in Bangladesh. He has worked to improve this sector,” Warha opined.

From education to humanitarian ground, he selflessly worked in every sector despite being a foreigner.

“At one point, his love for Bangladesh deepened so much that he wanted its citizenship, which he finally got in 2014,” the disaster management expert recounted.

Father Timm wanted to spend his last days in Bangladesh, but was forced to move to his homeland, the US, late in 2014 due to multiple physical complications, Wahra furthered.

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