Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a global nonprofit that creates, finds and supports programmes that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families around the world, honoured Dr Mushtaque Chowdhury for his leadership in community-based primary healthcare, poverty alleviation programmes, education for children and women’s empowerment.
Husnaara ran to her house smiling from ear to ear as if she could not get any happier. At that point nothing seemed impossible; she could become a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer, go to a good university. She could not wait to give her father the news about her Secondary School Certificate results and assure him that his daughter would one day be able to provide for them.
On a quiet Wednesday afternoon in early August, Dhaka’s Tejgaon fire station got a call from Beltola, a crowded part of Korail slum. An electric wire was sparking and nearby houses were starting to catch on fire.
While the situation is the worst it has ever been, we are better equipped than we have ever been. This success can be credited to collaborative efforts by the government and civil society, which ensure shelter homes, pre-disaster preparedness, and early warning systems.
Five of us from the MBA programme of University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, volunteered to join BRAC for an academic consulting project this April. We were fortunate to work on the Integrated Land Services Office (ILSO), an initiative of the organisation’sHuman Rights and Legal Aid Services (HRLS). The four-week immersive visit allowed us to participate and draw lessons from the amazing work they do and the social impact they create at scale.
Brishty Akhter, 18, is a skilled tailor who owns a business where she trains and employs other girls in southern Bangladesh. She started learning tailoring at 16 and then her parents used the money that they had saved for her marriage to buy her the business.
It is estimated that 624 million people around the world could have their vision restored if they could access eye glasses. This lack of access is costing the global economy a whopping USD 202 billion per year.
As a non-profit dedicated to poverty reduction, client welfare has been central to BRAC’s mission since its inception in 1972. In Bangladesh in general, almost all microfinance institutions are non-profits, and so microfinance has always been seen as a tool for alleviating poverty in the country.
Last year WHO and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation reported that Bangladesh had made significant progress in reducing the proportion of people practising open defecation –to just 1 per cent, down from 34 per cent in 1990.
Most people have probably never heard of the world’s largest non-governmental organisation. BRAC, with a workforce of over 100,000 people and projects reaching 1 in every 55 people, is the biggest development organisation operating today.