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Norwich churches give financial help to the poor of Bangladesh

Ginny Smith and photographer Ian Spratt.

Ginny Smith and photographer Ian Spratt.

Archant

More than £5,000 has been donated to different charities by three churches in Hellesdon, including £1,500 to a charity for the poor in Bangladesh.

Each year the churches of St Mary, St Paul and St Michael in Hellesdon give 10pc of their income to charitable causes.

This year they decided to donate £1,000 each to local bereaved children’s charity Nelson’s Journey, the Norwich Food Bank, Christian Aid and The Bible Society.

But after getting a special look at life in the Asian country of Bangladesh, they also decided to put £1,500 towards the Sreepur Village charity.

Freelance photographer Ian Spratt gave a presentation of his work with Sreepur Village to the combined congregations of the three churches, at St Paul’s Church on City View Road.

Through Mr Spratt’s How Lucky We Are exhibition, he depicts life at the non-religious, non-political organisation based in Sreepur, in rural Bangladesh, that works with destitute mothers and their children to give them the health, knowledge and skills needed to function independently.

In 1985 Mr Spratt visited an orphanage in Dhaka, Bangladesh when working as a national press photographer and felt compelled to return and document the terrible conditions that he had seen.

The next year he returned to try and trace some of the children he had photographed and the success of the subsequent exhibit was premiered at the NEC Birmingham, the Chapel Gallery in London’s West End and in British Airways executive lounges in airports all over the world.

To complete the 25-year journey Mr Spratt has recently returned to take photos of the children, who are now adults, to further raise awareness of the Sreepur Village.

Church warden of St Mary’s Church, Ginny Smith, said: “In powerful black-and-white images Ian illustrated the unfolding lives of children abandoned on the streets of Dhaka and subsequently raised by the Sreepur Village.

“A buffet tea was shared during question time and a donation of £1,500 was presented to Ian for the continuing work of this now famous village.”

- A full compilation of the series of black-and-white images which make up the How Lucky We Are exhibition is currently on show at The Assembly House on Theatre Street, Norwich, until July 24.

- Have you got a story for Local Life? Call editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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