All Blogs

December 3, 2018

A mother’s love
and a special classroom

Belal bursts into a fit of laughter as his mother stands proudly by him.

“He is only 12 years old and he already competed on a national level. He won first and second prizes in running and ball throwing in a national competition for persons with disabilities. He took his first trip without me to Cox’s Bazar for BRAC’s retreat in 2016. I am so proud of him. It was very hard for him growing up. As a mother, it was hard to watch. He was bullied by other children. No school accepted him. He could not even button …

November 30, 2018

General Assembly: Transforming a group disenfranchised for generations

New York, 25 September 2018 – “Rohingya women, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, were the invisible gender of a stateless people, treated like a non-entity. Coming from a very conservative background, majority lacked literacy, generally did not leave the house, and were not involved in decision-making, leadership or income-generating activities. When the crisis erupted, it made them most vulnerable to gender-based violence. And yet, despite these risks, they were the ones who stepped forward first to help others. They mobilised their communities and care for their families, often single-handedly.

Imagine two-thirds of Manhattan’s population showing up at your doorstep overnight!  …

November 29, 2018

Child’s play: Transforming the way children learn

An unexpectedly colourful room sits in the corner of a quiet compound in Nondipara, Banasree. But the room is anything but quiet.

Happy, indistinct clamour of children hit the ears, and those from the neighbouring houses gather to peek into the small window. Inside, children have formed a circle, following the instructions of their khelar shathi.

Today, they are copying her movements. They’re touching their toes, stretching their bodies, extending their little arms up to the ceiling, and then excitedly breaking into a brisk walk at the same spot.

The play leader announces that it’s now story time. “Are

November 22, 2018
BLOG Youth

Join BRAC’s family of social innovators

At BRAC, we believe in creating practical leaders with a vision for change and the capability to drive impact at scale. As part of our commitment to shaping the next generation of forward-thinking, status-quo challenging development professionals, we have just launched the inaugural Social Innovation Fellowship starting next March 2019.

This year-long opportunity is open to young people aged 18-35 from around the globe who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to creating positive social change. Whether you are a social entrepreneur or a tech specialist, an academic or a private sector professional, if you are dedicated to creating impact, then we …

November 20, 2018

A classroom in the sky: Building upwards in the Rohingya camps

Currently, over 43,000 children are learning in our 496 temporary learning centres in the camps. To reach our goal, we will need to build more learning centres, but there is limited space available in the densely populated settlements.

Building upwards

After a visit to the settlements in February, BRAC University architecture professors worked with our education team on the ground and came up with an idea: a two-storied centre made of bamboo.

We partnered with UNHCR and the final design was approved by the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner on a pilot basis. The first two-storied temporary learning centre completed …

November 20, 2018

Waste to welfare: A tale of Jamalpur and its people

The town, located in northern Bangladesh, experienced a four-fold increase in population over eight years. As a result, the growing amount of improperly disposed waste continued to pollute Jamalpur’s natural essence. The local government and community were keen on finding practical solutions and were drawn to ideas that explored ways to keep the environmental sanctity of Jamalpur intact.

BRAC partnered with the local government to test a cost-effective and sustainable way to ensure that people had access to safe waste disposal options. Since then, the initiative garnered considerable positive response from the community. In a fascinating story of how …

November 14, 2018

An engine of our growth

In Bangladesh, full bellies mean rice. At the end of a long day, a hot meal is what most look forward to. A plate of rice alongside seasonal vegetables.

The fruit of one’s labour in the fields can quench hunger. Simultaneously, this very labour has been central in improving people’s livelihoods. This agrarian country owes much to its farmers. Which is why, as Bangladesh moves forward, our understanding of development and food security cannot neglect the sector vital for its growth: Agriculture.

Agriculture plays a powerful role in poverty reduction, according to a study done by BRAC’s research and evaluation …

November 8, 2018
BLOG Urban

Growth at the grassroots: Communities revamping urban slums

While slums offer refuge to people who are excluded from the formal housing system, it also presents a very sordid picture of humanity living in congested spaces with rampant disease and poverty.

Slums are defined as compact clusters of five or more households living in precarious conditions on public or private land, lacking land tenure security. Approximately 13,935 urban slums exist across Bangladesh.

Slums are home to economic migrants, unemployed job-seekers, and those straddling the poverty line. The majority of the houses (91%) are made of temporary structures, only half of the population have access to safe water, and a …

November 5, 2018
BLOG Health

The quiet power of listening

“I don’t know if I can achieve anything good in my life. Whenever I am hurt, I find myself in tears and I cannot stop crying. I don’t feel happy, and I do not know how to deal with this situation.”

“I have been contemplating suicide. My husband never supports my decisions. He is always suspicious of me and sometimes refuses to pay for my tuitions. I don’t know what I should do at this point.”

“I feel tense all the time. I don’t want to take part in conversations because I’m either nervous or irritable. Everytime I get angry,

November 1, 2018

Resilience in the time of disaster

More than 80% of the population in Bangladesh are potentially exposed to floods, earthquakes and droughts – and this is mostly because of a lack of vital information on early warnings and disaster preparedness.

Strengthening resilience of those most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters is a top priority for BRAC, and the impacts of our disaster mitigation initiatives have been clear.

Boosting economic resilience through low-cost technology

A potential fodder crisis was curbed through the introduction of hydroponic green wheat grass technology. Thanks to the method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water instead of soil, farmers …

October 31, 2018

How does microfinance support social transformation?

Shumon is a farmer living in a village in Bangladesh. He does not own any land. He is a seasonal worker and receives a few thousand taka every month. He wants, more than anything, to lease out a piece of land so he can generate a steady income. But he earns too little, and it would take him years to save.

Shumon wants to take a loan. He is certain that he would be able to pay the money back along with the interest with the additional income from growing crops on his own land.

But who would lend

October 24, 2018
BLOG Health

Why has the decline of maternal deaths stalled in Bangladesh?

It is a mystery still then, why this decline stalled.

The recent 2016 Bangladesh Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey, showed no improvement since the 2010 survey. As a country wholly committed to improving the well-being and health of our population, I can say personally, that these results are extremely frustrating. This is especially in light of the country’s commitment to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

If we are to build upon our successes before 2010, we need to understand what worked in the first place? The Bangladesh Liberation War — that saw the birth of Bangladesh …