All Blogs

June 23, 2019

New opportunities in the face of new challenges in Cox’s Bazar

In Cox’s Bazar, a small town on the south-eastern coast of Bangladesh, extreme poverty, a fraught socio-cultural landscape and the Rohingya refugee humanitarian crisis have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and placed an unprecedented burden on women in the host communities. BRAC is working to help them bounce back through artisanal skills training and new employment opportunities.

Cox’s Bazar is one of Bangladesh’s poorest and most vulnerable areas, with 17% of people living below the extreme poverty line, compared to the national average of 12.9%. The more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees now living in Bangladesh has placed an unprecedented burden on Bangladeshis …

June 21, 2019

Passing the Microphone to the Rohingya

Everything I thought I knew about the Rohingya was upended when I listened to them tell their own stories, through the WFP Storytellers programme, implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with BRAC, in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in April 2019.

“This is me with my band at a recording studio,” said Muhammad Rafique, 19, showing me a picture on the mobile phone he brought with him when he fled Rakhine State in Myanmar two years ago.

As a journalist and a Bangladeshi-American – an immigrant myself – I had been following the …

June 20, 2019

What does a classroom mean to you?

For most of us, our childhood revolved around a classroom.

For over 10 years, we woke up, excited (or forced) to get out of bed, put on uniforms, ate breakfast and headed to school. We looked forward to lessons with our favourite teachers, and dreaded classes with the stricter ones. We looked forward to lunch breaks with friends, many of whom have remained our friends for years to come.

A classroom was the last thing on 10-year-old Showkat’s mind when she entered Bangladesh in August 2017.  She was in an unknown land, had nothing with her from her home …

June 16, 2019
BLOG General

Reflections on paternity leave on Father’s Day

Fathers are our confidants, role-models, and above all, they – along with our mothers – are our first teachers. Their love and care play a meaningful role at every stage of our lives.

From the moment a child is born, the care of both of the parents is important for the child’s development and growth. Sharing parenting responsibilities brings the father closer to his child and partner – in turn, the child grows up in a loving environment where parents work as a team. A baby learns to absorb information about their surroundings through responsive interaction with their parents. A …

June 10, 2019

Beating air pollution

Extreme weather patterns – such as increasing incidents of cyclones and hurricanes – are telltale signs of the damage dealt to the environment. But there is another aspect to the environment which has a more subtle yet sinister way of disrupting our health: Air pollution.

Air pollution is responsible for around seven million deaths every year – that’s one in eight of total deaths worldwide. Eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, and sneezing and coughing are but some of the short term irritations of toxic air – something citizens of Bangladesh’s capital is all too familiar with, with Dhaka being named one

May 29, 2019
BLOG Urban

The road to safety

The ringing and vibrations of cell phones nudged awake BRAC’s head office on an early Monday morning. When people answered, a familiar voice spoke to them. “I am Fazle Hasan Abed,” the voice from the other line began.

Alert, everyone listened intently to the words said by the founder and chairperson of the world’s largest NGO for four years in a row. Abed bhai – as he is known throughout the BRAC family – lent his voice to spread a crucial message, which kicked off the week-long awareness campaign for the UN Global Road Safety Week 2019.

“I request all

May 28, 2019
BLOG Health

Can we save dying mothers in Bangladesh?

“My mother-in-law insisted that the delivery be at home, as that is how most women deliver babies in our community. I went into labour late at night, and the traditional birth attendant gave up at around 3am. The pain was so immense, I thought I will not make it to dawn. Somebody from the neighborhood called a BRAC shashtya kormi (community health worker) and informed about the emergency. The next thing I remember was being assisted onto a van by a lady in a white apron with a BRAC logo on it. I think I passed out in the middle

May 16, 2019

40 ways BRAC supports mothers in Bangladesh: Snapshot from 2018

Mothers are everything to us. We couldn’t imagine a world without them. So, just like mothers look after their children in every aspect of our lives, BRAC looks after mothers in every aspect of their life. We are building a world that works for all of us, starting with the people who brought us to this world.

One woman dies every minute as a result of pregnancy complications and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, and many of them could be prevented with access to basic health care services. 1.5 million pregnant women received maternity care …

May 12, 2019

Breaking conventions by liberating structures

Does this situation sound familiar? You are confronted with a challenge or you want to improve your group’s productivity for a meeting or a project. You know performance would skyrocket – if you could engage everyone to contribute creatively and build on each other’s ideas. You tend to do a better job if you feel inspired, included and engaged, and you know your teammates feel the same way.

The truth is that teams in which people work well together produce much better results. However, the conventional structures that we use in our day to day proceedings can challenge inclusion and …

April 25, 2019
BLOG Health

Closing the door on one of the world’s oldest diseases

In 2017, an estimated 219 million malaria cases and 435,000 malaria deaths was reported worldwide. South-east Asia alone accounted for 1.24 million cases and 299 deaths.

The age old disease is still endemic across 13 border districts of Bangladesh, which share boundaries with the eastern states of India and Myanmar. The disease has posed threat to about 18 million people, with the Chittagong Hill Tracts standing as the highest risk zone.

The area accounts for about 90% of malaria cases in the country. In 2018, 7% of the reported 10,523 malaria cases were of children under five and 0.41% …

April 24, 2019

Building garment sector capacity at home in Bangladesh

Six years ago today, Samira Akhter* was working in the finishing department on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza, a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, when the eight-story building collapsed. She was stranded in the rubble for three days before she was rescued.

With BRAC’s support, Samira recovered from the physical and mental distress she experienced, and later, after participating in skills training and receiving seed capital, Samira revived her family’s bamboo fence business to secure a sustainable income.

Many others were not so lucky. 1,134 garment workers lost their lives in the collapse of Rana Plaza, and more …

April 21, 2019

A green step out of poverty

Bangladesh sits in a low-lying region at the intersections of the Meghna, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers, making it one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. We set out for Kurigram, Rangpur, a northern region of Bangladesh, where climate change has shuffled seasonal patterns in one of the country’s poorest districts. It is also where BRAC’s ultra-poor graduation programme has been present since 2002.

The programme aims to enable ultra-poor households to achieve key milestones towards sustainable livelihoods and socio-economic resilience. One key element of the programme is enterprise development training. Each participant receives a …