One year on from the passing of the Founder of BRAC, we speak to Dr Erum Mariam, Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh and Miganur Rahman, who all worked with Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. Each of them began their journey with BRAC at different times, worked with Sir Fazle in different capacities and are currently leading at different levels in BRAC. What they have in common is that they continue to pass Sir Fazle’s leadership traits forward.
Many women in Bangladesh woke up this morning, draped a saree and went about their day. For women living in rural areas, the saree was likely worn as an everyday item of dress, and for women living in urban areas, the saree could have been worn to a special occasion for International Women’s Day. Today, we share the story of one of the women behind those sarees.
BRAC’s social enterprises have always been based on a drive to find alternate livelihoods for Bangladesh’s rural poor. None were started simply as business endeavours; instead, these unique enterprises have stakeholders. While every business has a purpose of maximising profit, BRAC’s purpose is poverty alleviation. These enterprises provide 72 per cent of the funds for BRAC’s own programmes, ensuring self-sustainability by reinvesting 50 per cent of their profits back into development interventions.
As we read this, there are millions of people in different corners of the world who are unsure if they will wake up alive in the morning due to their inhabitancy in conflict-ridden regions. There are people who brace themselves every morning to face another day of poverty or wonder if they will be able to afford medicine for their children.
Under the rain-soaked canopy of a mango tree stood a one-room structure with large windows. As we entered, a soft murmur of whispers swept through the room. Curious eyes greeted us with shy, furtive glances. Most workers of the Bangladeshi apparel industry work in grim, unsafe environments, but this place sang a different song. The room was wide and spacious, flooded by broad daylight and fresh air that smelled like rain.