May 4, 2002 - Bangladesh RPCV Groups: Bangladesh RPCV Groups

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bangladesh: Peace Corps Bangladesh : The Peace Corps in Bangladesh: May 4, 2002 - Bangladesh RPCV Groups: Bangladesh RPCV Groups

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 2:36 pm: Edit Post

Bangladesh RPCV Groups

Bangladesh RPCV Groups

Peace Corps Groups
Updated 5/4/02
From 1961 to 1965, a total of nine groups of United States Peace Corps Volunteers served in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan. The program was discontinued in late 1965.

Following a renewed set of diplomatic contacts, the program in Bangaldesh was begun again in 1998.

From 1998 to 2001, three new groups of Peace Corps Volunteers reconstituted the tradition after a 33 year hiatus serving in Bangladesh, primarily in the Teachers Training Institutes working to improve the English language training skills of mostly experienced teachers.

The "60's" groups of volunteers worked in a wide variety of roles, as Peace Corps was then experimenting with different assignments to see which ones would work out most effectively.

Volunteers have served in many roles including: engineers, teachers, physical education instructors, nurses, farmers, irrigation specialists, community development, carpenters, bricklayers, diesel mechanics, etc.

In Comilla, where Pak 1 received it's in-country training, PCVs worked under the direction of Ahkter Hameed Khan, the dynamic organizer and lecturer on Village Development who set the standard for community activism in the 60's.

Pak 1 volunteers like Bob Taylor started the cheese factory (much expanded today and still going strong in Comilla), Bob Burns helped install tube wells (also a fixture around the county today - enabling three rice crops a year, and greening the country in the winter months), and Kiki McCarthy and Jean Ellickson did innovative programs for women's issues in the villages.

By the time Pak 1 was ready to leave, Pak 4 came in and took over in Comilla to continue the work of village development assistance.

Pak 4 volunteers, as the "replacement group" for Pak I in Comilla, helped establish three new satellite rural development academies in other parts of the province.

The Pak 1 group in the early 60's was initially trained in the US in Vermont at the Experiment In International Living (now one of the programs of World Learning) , then received additional home-stay and in-country training in East Pakistan.

Under the able leadership of Bob Terry, who was employed by the Experiment, but in substance was really one of us, the early Peace Corps groups in EP developed relationships with country leaders, and helped to establish the viability of Peace Corps in South Asia.

Groups soon followed in West Pakistan (now Pakistan), and in India, many of them learning from the experience in EP. Administrators at the time included Jim Moody (later to be Congressman Moody from Wisconsin); Paul Slawson, and Kingston Berlew.

The Pak 4 volunteers started out in the Outward Bound type PC training camp in Puerto Rico, then arrived at the Experiment headquarters in Brattleboro, Vermont with great sun tans in March!

They spent two weeks in Comilla with Pak 1 volunteers after completing the Experiment-style homestays upon arrival in country. Shortly after Pak 4 arrived, they were renumbered and became Pak 5.

Jennice Fishburn remembers:

" Since Joni, Sandy, and I lived in Dhaka, we met most of the PCVs when they came into Dhaka for meetings, physicals, etc. We served a lot of afternoon tea at our house and enjoyed every minute of getting to know everyone, including going out to dinner at Chung Wah's and Chung Ching Chow's with PCVs who were looking forward to Chinese food in town!

The majority of Pak 7, which trained together at the U. of Minnesota, went to West Pak. The part of Pak 7 that came to the East wing numbered about 24. They arrived in Bangladesh around Oct. 1, 1963 and departed in mid-June 65. All were involved in rural public works programs.

Pak 8, which was almost all engineers, came a few months after Pak 7, and must have left about August or September, 1965. Peace Corps staffer Ken Hotchkiss picked one of the Pak 8 group to be his assistant (a guy with some solid engineering experience), as Wayne recalls. Pak 7 PCVs John Rogosch and Wayne extended for one more year. The two of them, plus Pak 9 (which must have arrived during the Fall of 1964) were the only PCVs left in the country.

In September, 1965, when war broke out between Pakistan and India. John, Wayne and the Pak 9 group (Wayne thinks they numbered less than 10 or 12) and other American non-essentials, were evacuated by the US Army (Air Force?) in late September to "safe haven" in the Philippines.

John, Wayne, and Pak 9 then completed their final year reassigned to Iran, finishing in June, 1966."

The Peace Corps program was ended in the mid-60's due to the war between Pakistan and India along with priorities of Peace Corps in other areas.

The Government of Bangladesh and the US Government renegotiated an agreement to have volunteers return to Bangladesh in 1998.

The first new group (B1) to come to Bangladesh since the 60's came in November of 1998, while the next group (B2) arrived around February of 2000.

Lastly, the third group (B3) came Feb 18, 2001 and left several months later.

The volunteers were mostly assigned to the Teacher Training Institutes in Bangladesh to help train primary school teachers to improve their skill in teaching English.

Many of the volunteers also took on secondary projects in hospitals, leprosy clinics, missions, other local colleges and schools, etc.

Since the return in 1998, three groups have served all or part of their terms. In October, 2001, the Peace Corps suspended programs for a minimum of three months due to a deteriorating political situation.

The following links are for the use of the volunteers in reconnecting and in sharing the stories and looking for information about each other.

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Story Source: Bangladesh RPCV Groups

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bangladesh



By A. K. M Anowar Hossain Mollah ( on Saturday, April 23, 2005 - 7:24 am: Edit Post

I am interested to about the details the Peace Corps is doing in bangladesh and I eagerly want to be the member of Peace Corps in bangladesh.

By Mark Hotchkiss ( - on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:11 pm: Edit Post

My father is Ken Hotchkiss of Pak 8. He is now 82 and lives in Colorado in a town named none other than, Hotchkiss. He suffered a stroke in 1989 which caused a slight disability in speech and some skills, but he is still alert, engaged, and actually manages the irrigation system on his own property. Some engineers never quit!

I and my two brothers and sister also lived in Dacca when I was 7-8 years old, and I have a very vivid, vivid memory of the place even this many years later. I can even remember the route from my home on Road 22 to my elementary school. I can remember how to get to New Market (if it's still there).

His wife, my mother, Joy is also healthy and active in this agrarian western Colorado small town.

Ken and Joy would be thrilled to make contact with anyone who served in either Bangladesh or at The Experiment in International Living in Brattleboro, Vt. (I lived there when I was 8-10 years old).

Please contact me via emal:
Or by phone at: 303-499-9850

By ADNAN ( on Saturday, September 10, 2005 - 12:44 am: Edit Post


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