Leading Oxford restaurateurs launch ‘£1 on the Bill’ appeal for Vision Bangladesh
A group of leading Asian restaurateurs gathered today at the award winning Mirabai Indian Restaurant in Headington, Oxford to pledge their commitment to raise vital funds to help eradicate avoidable blindness in Bangladesh.
The launch was coordinated by Shabbir Ahmed Choudhury, Regional Representative for Vision Bangladesh and Proprietor of Mirabai who said: “Oxfordshire is proud to be helping out in a cause such as Vision Bangladesh and we hope that we can raise a substantial amount to give people new lives.”
Vision Bangladesh is a groundbreaking partnership between BRAC, the largest NGO in the world and a highly reputed international charity, Sightsavers International, to eradicate preventable blindness caused by cataract in the region of Sylhet, Bangladesh by 2013. The target is to conduct 100,000 operations in Sylhet Division by 2013 and eradicate blindness in the whole of Bangladesh by 2020.
The ‘£1 on the Bill’ campaign involves Bangladeshi-owned restaurants to include a voluntary charge of £1 per table (after service and VAT) at the end of a meal. Customers can easily opt out by informing their table waiter that they do not wish to participate.
All across the UK, similar groups of restaurants are coming together to support the appeal with up to 300 restaurants taking part nationally. The campaign will run throughout October and November and expects to raise £300k from participating restaurants for Vision Bangladesh.
Abul Boshor Babul, owner of Nawabi Takeaway on Girdlestone Road, explained why his establishment was participating:
”Just with 20 pounds we can restore a person's sight. Many of us don't understand the amount of difference we can make sitting thousands of miles away from our motherland. With 95% of the money raised going to the cause, this is a worthy cause indeed. “
BRAC spokesperson said: “We are really proud that so many restaurants and their customers in the Oxford area are raising funds for sight restoring operations in Bangladesh. One cataract operation costs just £20 and takes only 20 minutes to perform. So every £1 will be put to good use.”
The appeal will transform the lives of people like fifty year old Padma Kormi who was blind in both eyes with cataracts. Padma from the village of Mourapur in Sylhet had lost her job on the tea estates and became extremely poor and vulnerable. She was one of the first people to be treated by Vision Bangladesh. Now having had surgery Padma can see again and is very happy to be able to return to her job and be independent again.
Khairul Islam, Owner of The Indian Room, Oxford Road, explained why many of the restaurants present there today are taking part in the campaign:
” I believe that this is the opportunity for us from the catering industry to make a difference. I believe in the cause as it gives so much to so many people. I encourage other restaurant owners from all over the country to join this cause and bring these people out of the darkness.”
More details, including a film can be found at: www.brac.net/visionbangladesh
List of Participating Restaurants in Oxford:
1. Mirabai Indian Restaurant – 70 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7PD
2. Aziz Restaurants – 230 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UH
3. Indian Room – 1, Oxford Road, OX4 1UH
4. Nawabi Takeaway – 5 Girdlestone Road, Oxford, OX3 7NU
5. Dilraj – 6 Oak Street, Abingdon, Oxford, OX14 5AW
6. Vine and Spice – High Street, Oxford, OX14 4QH
7. Memories of Bengal – 12, Wallingford Road, Cholsey, Oxford, OX10 9LQ
8. Spice Lounge - 193, Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7AR
9. Saffron – 204-206 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7BY
10. Jamal’s – 107-108 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AJ
11. Shakil’s – 94, Sheep Street, Oxford, OX26 6LP
12. Jaflong – 51, Market Street, Oxford, OX26 6AJ
13. Taj Mahal – 8 Causeway, Oxford, OX26 6AW
14. Arzoo – 15, Market Square, OX26 6AW
15. Karma – 152, Oxford Road, OX4 2EA
16. Jee Saheb – 15, North Parade Avenue, Oxford, OX2 6LX
17. Cinnamon – High Street, Weatley, Oxford, OX33
18. Shaan Restaurant – 12, Corn Street, Witney, Oxford, OX33
19. Rajasthan – 64, Cowley Road, OX4 1JB
20. Taste of India – 34, The Green, OX33 1RP
21. Curry Paradise – 39, High Street, Witney, Oxon, OX33 1RP
22. Ahmed Tandoori Takeaway – 7A Eagle Industrial Estate, Witney, Oxon, OX28 4YR