BRAC’s 6thFrugal Innovation Forum came to a close yesterday in Savar, Dhaka. With the theme of “Scaling opportunities for youth”, over 200 practitioners, entrepreneurs, activists and policy makers came together to explore the futures of young people in the Global South.
We live in a world where mental health conditions are severely misunderstood. 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem every year, yet a culture of silence and stigma run deep, making it difficult for people to seek support.
From a bird’s-eye-view, if one were to look at the vast settlements where people from Rakhine state of Myanmar are currently residing, they would see many pink dots purposefully moving about. This rush of pink are BRAC’s women humanitarian workers delivering life-saving services, specifically to women and girls who make up more than half of the 589,000 people who have come to Bangladesh since 25 August.
Over 582,000 people from the Rakhine State of Myanmar have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25th. They are living in extremely cramped, extremely unhygienic conditions, and more people are arriving every day.
Cox’s Bazar is the world’s longest sea beach, and littered with holidaymakers and colourful beach umbrellas throughout the year. Less than an hour’s drive from the string of shiny hotels, however now lies a mega city of black tarp tents.
An estimated 507,000 people are now living on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar, and more than half of them are children. Most of them have arrived with zero possessions, apart from the clothes they wore while making the long and dangerous journey.
Nine-year-old Amin plays with a rhino and a horse in a land of make believe. It has been a week since he arrived in Bangladesh with his family. Their route took them through the sea for two days and across deep valleys and thick jungle for another three days.
Imagine a world where there is no access to financial services. You cannot save, which means you cannot set aside money for the future. You cannot access a loan, which means you are shut off from a limitless number of opportunities, including investing in an enterprise, purchasing a home or land, or maintaining household expenses when cash is tight. You don’t have insurance or any kind of buffer against shocks, such as medical emergencies in the family, a sudden loss of a job, or natural disasters. Would you be able to manage?
It is said that the total number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 12-17 per cent if women’s access to resources were equivalent to that of men. Still perceived to be a male-dominated field, the agriculture sector in Bangladesh has seen a dramatic rise in female participation, now exceeding 50 per cent. October 15th is International Day for Rural Women and here are some of their stories.
Jannat is not your typical microfinance client. Like an increasing number of BRAC’s microfinance clients, she is not a member of a women-only savings and borrowing group, and did not take a loan to set up a micro-enterprise. Instead, her and her husband are part of new sphere of microfinance clients that is starting to catch on - migrant workers.