Thank you Phil and Welcome Suzie & Ryan

Symbiosis has been fortunate to have its foundations built from willing, intrepid, compassionate and professionally skilled volunteers both in Bangladesh and Australia.
Much of the work today still relies on the incalculable input and commitment of skilled people with a passion to see poverty eliminated.

Thank you – ধন্যবাদ – Dhonnobaad to Phil 

After working for over 10 years as a community development consultant with Symbiosis Bangladesh, Phil Barnden (pictured above) has returned home to Melbourne for a well-earned break.

Phil has been working alongside our team, bringing his technical skills and natural curiosity on how things work, to help the team to develop local solutions within our program area.

Born and raised in Bangladesh, Phil’s language and cross-cultural skills continue to be pivotal in building connection between the teams in Bangladesh and Australia. A familiar face to expatriate visitors, Phil has helped a number of team members learn how to respectfully approach and engage at a project level.

While his regular presence will be missed for now, we’re excited to see what Phil can do with some relaxation and dedicated time to his postgraduate studies from home.

Great job – দারুণ – Darun – hardly covers the gratitude and significant contributions Phil has made to the organisation.

Welcome – স্বাগতম – Swagatam to Suzie and Ryan


In 2024, Suzie and Ryan Smith will depart for their secondment as Volunteers to Symbiosis Bangladesh. Living and working in Bangladesh will be a new experience for both of them, with initial plans to make Bangladesh home for three years.

Suzie will be commencing in a role as a disability consultant, while Ryan’s focus will be on staff development and wellbeing. Bangla language learning and short-term visits to Bangladesh in the past twelve-months have been part of supporting Suzie and Ryan to prepare. Each visit has included engagement with Symbiosis Bangladesh who are looking forward to onboarding and integrating them into the team as volunteers.

Below some reflections from Suzie and Ryan as they consider their roles and new lifestyle.

“I think it is too early for me to really identify what impact my volunteering will have, however I am trusting that my contribution will have an ongoing impact to the people of Bangladesh and the other volunteers around me. I am really excited to be involved in this work – a childhood dream coming true” Suzie
“I’ve never been in Bangladesh for more than 3 weeks at a time and I’m sure the intensity of Bangladesh will be a real challenge for me as those weeks turn into months. I don’t mind my own space and enjoy walks on my own – I expect this is something I will miss. But I am hoping there are new things I will learn to enjoy” Ryan

Congratulations – শুভকামনা – Shuvo kamona – on the opportunities to learn and contribute which lie ahead!

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