IVU met Ataur Rahman Miton at the Asia for Animals Conference 2010 in Singapore. He is the founder of the Vegetarian Society of Bangladesh. Miton's main work is as Country Director for Hunger Free World
What does Hunger Free World do in Bangladesh?
We emphasize capacity building. For instance, we help approximately 200 organic farmers, give scholarships for girls to attend school, provide vegetarian food to two primary schools, and give people loans to do small business.
When and how did you become a vegetarian?
I have been a vegetarian for about two years. The inspiration was a video compilation I saw with a video from VIVA and one from PETA.
What was people's reaction to you becoming a vegetarian?
My wife, who is a doctor, was not fond of the idea, but she has seen that my health has actually improved since I've become a vegetarian. Other family members were concerned that it was un-Islamic to be vegetarian. I showed them a different perspective.
What does the Vegetarian Society of Bangladesh do?
Presently, we are still a small, new organisation. We try to create public awareness by showing videos and providing food at our events.
What are your plans for promoting vegetarianism in the future?
We have many plans, including:
- Network with other organisations in Bangladesh and internationally
- Build a website
- Create education materials in the Bangla language
- Work with WHO on a World Vegetarian day, just like they have days for other health issues.
What is your favourite Bangladeshi vegetarian dish?
Bitter gourd curry.
VegSoc Bangladesh is a member of the International Vegetarian Union: www.ivu.org
More on Hunger Free World :- www.hfwbd.org