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Tears of joy: Harold and Joy Bultin have sponsored more than 20 children over the years, but share a special bond with Milton Das, who they were reunited with last week.Rawemotion erupted when local couple Harold and Joy Butlin finally got to meet the Bangladeshi “boy” they had sponsored since age four last week.
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Nearly 40 years later, the Butlins got to hold the boy “from the other side of the world” who they watched grow up through photos and school reports.

“Never in a million years” did the lifelong friends think they would get to meet.

“It was a very emotional greeting,” Mrs Butlin admitted.

“Milton just put his arms out and said “Hello ma” (Bangladesh for mother).”

Milton Das agreed it was a “surreal and happy moment”.

“I re-tell the story (of his sponsorship) often because I am so grateful to Australians,” he said.

“There were lots of children in the same village as me growing up who didn’t have any opportunities in their lives.”

When Milton was just four, his father died of liver cancer, leaving his heavily pregnant mother to care for him and his two-year-old brother.

Wanting to ensure he was educated, Milton’s mother sought help at a local Seventh Day Adventist school, where Asian Aid Organisation’s sponsors offered a lifeline.

It was here that Milton’s sponsorship story began.

The special bond between the Butlins and their Bangladeshi sponsor child continued right through his schooling.

Milton not only completed a degree in education, but went on to gain his Masters in Education through distance learning.

During all of this, Milton and the Butlins had intermittent contact and updates through Asian Aid.

Milton even sent the Butlins an invite to his wedding.

These momentos, along with hundreds of black and white photos of Milton growing up, are preserved in a photo album treasured by the Butlins.

More recently, the power of social media has allowed them to keep in touch, share family photos and plan their Aussie reunion.

Milton is now the director of Bangladesh Children’s Sponsorship Services (BCSS), Asian Aid’s implementing partner in Bangladesh.

His own experiences have driven him to devote his life to serving young people through education, and he finds joy in working with underprivileged children despite attractive work opportunities and salaries in other places.

“Visiting our schools, and seeing the childrens’ smiles of gratitude and thankfulness, is the most enjoyable part about working in this field,” he said.

“Investing in education is the greatest medium to change people’s lives, positively and permanently.

“Asian Aid is planting the seed of love and care for children and young people’s education that will bear fruit tomorrow.”

Indeed, there could be no better endorsement for Asian Aid than Milton himself.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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