Father whose daughter died in fall to build orphanage

THE father of a toddler who fell to her death from a third floor window in Cork is fundraising to build an orphanage in his daughter’s memory.

Shawhut Ali lost his baby daughter Sumaiya in August 2007 after she crawled out the window of the family home, a third floor flat on Hardwick Street, off Coburg Street, in the city centre.

The family, originally from Bangladesh, have since moved to a basement premises around the corner on St Patrick’s Hill.

Baby Sumaiya, who was 22-months-old when she died, would have celebrated her fourth birthday later this year.

The family remember the anniversary of her death with a quiet solemn gathering on August 27.

Mr Ali, who has since fathered two children, said the daughter he lost lives on in his heart. He hopes to build an orphanage in his native Zhenaidah in west Bangladesh as a tribute to his daughter’s memory and to give thanks for his two healthy children, two-year-old daughter, Saba Jasmin, and 18-month-old son Saifan.

“I have plans to build an orphanage and I have put money aside to support this. I am also seeking others who would be willing to help me.”

Ali has chosen his Bangladesh because he wants to help his people and because of the low cost of living in the impoverished country.

“In Bangladesh I could support 100 people for the same amount of money it would cost to help 10 orphans here in Ireland,” he said.

The orphanage is likely to open as a facility to accommodate 30 to 50 children initially, according to Ali, who has received support from friends in the 800-strong Bangladeshi community in Cork to fund the project.

His father, based in Zhenaidah, will project manage the build programme, he said.

Ali and his wife Ramona have buried two children, a boy who was stillborn two years before Sumaiya’s birth, followed by the tragic loss of his daughter. He has written and published a memoir for his daughter which he said documents everything about her short life.

“I remember them both here in my heart,” he said. “I have lost a boy and a girl, but God is good and I have two beautiful children now, a boy and a girl again,” he smiled.

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