Have you ever met someone you felt had so much potential to be great but didn’t have the means to achieving it? Or met someone you felt deserved so much more than they had? HopeMob is the place “where generous strangers unite” to realize the dreams of those who are struggling to make ends meet.
The site’s current #1 featured story is about Tareq, a young Bangladeshi boy whose family gave up all they had to send him to a university in Malaysia, only to realize that they had all been duped by an agent.
Tareq dreams to become a professional chef. His parents turned to loan sharks for help by offering them their small piece of land so that their son could pursue proper tertiary education in Malaysia. The agent handling Tareq’s application assured him that he would land a good university. However, upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur, he found that instead of getting a student visa for a local university, he had gotten a working permit for Pizza Hut. His agent took his passport back and told him he had no choice but to work at Pizza Hut.
Feeling cheated, afraid and having no one to turn to, Tareq showed up for work at the pizza restaurant and decided to adopt a positive attitude. But as he went on at Pizza Hut he began to notice how terribly the staff—namely the Nepalese workers—were being treated, so he stood up for them. When he returned home that night, all his belongings were stolen by the managers he had angered at his workplace.
Tareq quit his job at Pizza Hut and called his agent to ask for his passport back. The agent demanded he pay USD 1,000 to claim possession of his own passport. He desperately needed his passport to find other jobs in Malaysia so he ended up borrowing money from the few friends he had made in Kuala Lumpur. When he finally got his passport back it was fake and his real one had been sold on the black market.
People who had gotten to know Tareq during his course of ill-luck decided to help him pay the immigration and attorney fees so that he could return home. He has been in Bangladesh for the last two years and his family has disowned him for all the hard-earned money they had thrown into a scam. Nevertheless, Tareq paid his family back for the fund they came up with to send him to Malaysia. He now survives on a small income as a volunteer translator for tourists and teams that come to do community development in Bangladesh.
Tareq with Daniel Ross, a trusted HopeMob team member
Not giving up on his ambition and dreams, he applied to chef schools in Australia and Thailand. However, because he is from Bangladesh and has no family it was difficult for him to get a visa to leave the country. His applications were rejected three times.
Tareq dreams of becoming a professional chef and to run his own restaurant one day. He’s done a couple of courses and worked as a chef around Bangladesh, but most of what he has learned has been self-taught.
The way HopeMob works is that they do not provide direct cast aid to those in need, but every dollar raised will contribute to the costs of culinary school for Tareq. The guys at HopeMob also hope to reach out to culinary schools and chefs to spread the news on Tareq’s plight. Let’s send Tareq to culinary school!