WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 7: A young man from Bangladesh who is touring the United States as a participant in the State Department's leadership program has brought a box of winter jackets made by his father's garment factory to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"When I was coming to the USA, my dad and I felt like we should do something about the Katrina victims. We have hurricanes back home. We know how it feels. This is a small gesture of solidarity and a small gesture that says, 'we are with you guys,"' Khondker Zunaed Rabbani said. "I wish I could do a lot more," he added.
Rabbani, a 23-year-old student in business at North South University in Dhaka, arrived in the United States in September shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the neighbouring Gulf Coast. He brought with him a box containing 22 winter jackets along with his personal luggage.
"It's not winter yet, but I'm sure the Katrina victims will be needing them in winter," Rabbani said.
Rabbani said that he appreciates the help that the United States has provided to his country, when it has been devastated by monsoon storms.
"The US helped us a lot a couple of years back and they still do when we have our hurricanes," Rabbani said. "I wanted to keep that in mind and tell the US government, 4 you were with us, and it's time that we should be with you."'
"We're like world citizens. So let's extend our hand of cooperation to each other," he added.
The Bangladesh government donated $1.0 million in cash to help the victims of Katrina. The United States contributed $8.2 million in 2004 and $3.0 million in 1998 to help the victims of severe flooding in Bangladesh, according to figures from the US Agency for International Development.
Rabbani said that the way the American people have responded to the ravages of Katrina is similar to how the people of Bangladesh react when their country is hit by monsoon storms.
"It's the same story in Bangladesh as in the USA Whenever you have a natural disaster, the whole country gets united and the whole country tries to help the hurricane victims. So far, from what I read from the newspaper, I felt like the whole country is pulling together to help the victims," he said.
Rabbani, identified as a young leader in his home country, is visiting Boston, Washington, Atlanta the state of Wisconsin, and other places in the United States for three and a half weeks as a guest of the State Department.
Along with other young leaders from six South Asian countries, Rabbani is part of a State Department program designed to familiarise young leaders around the world with how life is lived in the United States.
— US Embassy news feature