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September 20, 2018

Managing rumours in the Rohingya camps

These are only a few of the rumours that the Rohingyas living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar are faced with.

In December 2017, following a joint field assessment, the Government of Bangladesh and WHO launched the first phase of a diphtheria vaccination campaign in the Rohingya camps. As the biggest responder to the Rohingya crisis, BRAC, along with local and international NGOs, were tasked by the government to vaccinate children in the camps in Ukhia and Teknaf for diphtheria.

Initially, the Communicating with Communities (CwC) Working Group of the Inter Services Coordination Group (ISCG) that coordinates field response, mobilised

September 12, 2018

BRAC’s tablet journey: Revolutionising microfinance operations in Bangladesh

BRAC’s credit officer Ismat Ara was about to start her day. She was surrounded by a group of women who came to pay their monthly instalments and deposit savings. This setting, known at BRAC as a village organisation (VO), has been central to microfinance since it began in Bangladesh in the early 1970s.

The group sat on a hand stitched bamboo mat under the shade of a mango tree in a client’s courtyard. As they exchanged polite greetings, Ismat Ara took out a smart tablet from her bag and began the collection process. A gap between technology and rural communities …

September 11, 2018

The digital specialists breaking the last taboo

Maya Apa is one of BRAC’s socially-responsible investments that assist in the organisation’s mission to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy and disease and social injustice.  In 2017, Maya Apa became the first Bangladeshi startup to be accepted into Google Launchpad Accelerator Programme in California.

Dr Shayla Ahmed, the medical team lead of Maya Apa, shares the importance of empathy and research in leading a team of medical experts, and answering to people on the other end of the line.

Dr Shayla Ahmed
Medical Team Lead
Dhaka, Bangladesh

“A father of a seven-year-old child messaged us once.

September 5, 2018

Give credit to a woman – and you uplift her family

Microfinance helps people excluded from the formal banking system to access a suite of financial services. It facilitates families like China’s to build assets, smooth consumption, and reduce vulnerability to shocks such as health emergencies or natural disasters. It also provides an alternative to high interest loans from informal lenders or harmful coping mechanisms such as selling productive assets. 

China Akhter, 32 years
Nawabganj

“My family and I have always relied on microfinance to grow our businesses in my hometown in Joypara.

I was nervous when I took out my first loan. I was only 27, and had never

September 4, 2018
BLOG Urban

Can Dhaka be the next start-up hub of South Asia?

Starting from traffic congestion to lack of waste management systems – problems in Dhaka come in all varieties and magnitudes. An ordinary citizen may choose to point his finger at the government. However, an entrepreneur is more likely to spot business opportunities within the problems.

So, where are the start-ups in Dhaka?

Although the start-up ecosystem in Dhaka is still at its nascent stage, we see some promising start-ups coming up with innovative products and services which were beyond our imagination only five years ago.

Robust government support

Recently, the government has launched iDEA, a project that aims to support …

September 1, 2018

Creating the future I want

Playing its part to improve opportunities for young people, Aarong, one of BRAC’s largest social enterprises, employs over 200 full-time staff every year while also hiring close to 3,000 part-time staff on a seasonal basis.

Shaymoli Biswas Ohona, 32 years
Dhaka, Bangladesh

“I bought my mother a purse with my first salary. The smile it brought to her face was priceless. I knew then that no matter how expensive a gift she received later, nothing would compare.

It was back in 2008 when I was doing my honours and came upon a job opening at Aarong. I applied immediately and

August 30, 2018

Shaking up traditional farming in rural Bangladesh

Agriculture is the largest employment sector in Bangladesh, and women make up more than 50% of the agricultural labour force.

Madhuri shares her journey of expanding her little farm and using a machine to harvest crops, much to the dismay of fellow farmers and landowners.

Madhuri Mallick, 34 years
Khulna, Bangladesh

I was about to sit for my secondary school certificate exams when I was married off. I struggled for years with my in-laws to complete my schooling and start earning through tutoring.

As soon as I started making some money, I used it to buy seeds from BRAC. I

August 27, 2018

Finding friendship in the face of a crisis

More than 41,000 children are singing, learning and playing in our 234 child-friendly spaces and 365 learning centres in the camps and in Ukhiya and Teknaf. These spaces are safe, colourful places for children to be children. Our para-counsellors provide them with psychosocial support to help them deal with trauma.

Mohammad Ayaas, 12 years
Cox’s Bazar

I came from Myanmar on a boat full of strangers. No one held my hand and no one told me what to do. My father and mother were killed. I got separated from my sisters and brothers. I have not heard from them since

August 19, 2018
BLOG Youth

Skilling can unlock girls’ potential – when we can get it right

A third of Bangladesh’s population is 10-24 years old.  Approximately ten million young people are currently unemployed or underemployed.  An on-the-job apprenticeship model is slowly changing the employment landscape in Bangladesh.  It equips young people with the skills that employers need.  It has graduated more than 28,000 apprentices to date, skilling them under master crafts persons in 25 different demand-driven trades. Shireen is one of them. After graduating, 95% continue in employment or become entrepreneurs.

Shireen Akhter
Dhaka, Bangladesh

 

“I got married at 13. My husband criticised my dark skin and left me with an 11-year-old child. I

August 17, 2018
BLOG Youth

Living, learning, inspiring

Fast forward to 2018, and they are among the brightest employees at AR enterprise, a local print studio. Just three months into their training, they had mastered a variety of skills including typing in three languages (English, Bangla, and Arabic), Microsoft Office package, and Adobe Photoshop. They now provide graphic design and Microsoft Office training to other learners. Not only have they gotten into the habit of saving up in their own bank accounts, but they are also contributing to their families, who no longer think about their daughters’ marriage as a quick fix to everything.

Asma and Munni are

August 16, 2018
BLOG WASH, Youth

Walking three kilometres for a bathroom break

This presents various challenges in terms of hygiene, privacy and security. More than 40% of girls end up missing school during menstruation.

Tahia Toushin, a secondary school student, shares the challenges she faced when her school did not have a separate toilet for girls. Her school is one of 110 schools that have received improved latrines and drinking water sources. We have also provided nearly 1.5 million girls with counselling on menstrual hygiene management.

Tahia Toushin, 15 years

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

“I walked 2-3 kilometres from school every day for five years to use a washroom. The neighbours whose homes

August 14, 2018

Representing Bangladesh on Gujrat’s festival stage

Mitu is one of 100,000 young women in nearly 5,000 adolescent clubs across Bangladesh. These clubs provide safe spaces where young women can learn sports, life skills, social confidence and entrepreneurship. They share experiences, receive training and build networks.

Research has shown that adolescent clubs help girls to stay in school, become more financially literate and communicate more confidently. BRAC has set up nearly 18,000 adolescent clubs in six other countries; Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nepal.

Kaniz Khondokar Mitu, 22 years
Mymensingh, Bangladesh

“The magic of folk music had me spellbound from when I was