Newspaper headlines have become something we do not look forward to anymore. It reads mostly on the lines of corruption, crime, tragedies and conflicts. Some of us are frustrated and have stopped reading the papers. Good news is somewhat hard to find it seems. Or maybe we just miss out on it because we don’t really read through. So when there is a series of positive news being reported it is bound to catch the eye. It speaks of all the good work that is being done all around us. In recent times, one such continuous stream of positive news I have read is about farmers with photographs of them smiling with their healthy crops. This is indeed good news for Bangladesh. In an industry as labour intensive as the agriculture sector of our country, it means that the conditions are improving for a large number of people. The news is about the lives of Jamir, Rafiq, Hossain, Rashida and many more. These are the stories of BRAC’s agriculture and food security programme which has gained coverage in The Daily Star, The Daily Sun, The Janakantha, Naya Diganta after its success in the fields of maize and sunflower.
It was 7:30 in the morning the members of Kiwafu (A) microfinance group were gathering for their first group meeting. The group was officially formed two days ago, on the 16th of July 2011. 21 women who lived in the surrounding areas were sitting neatly in a courtyard. For the next four weeks, they will be going through an orientation programme. After the orientation, they will become the newest borrowers under BRAC’s microfinance programme.This group was formed under the newly established BRAC branch in Entebbe. This newly established branch is one of 20 new branches, being set-up as a part of BRAC’s ground-breaking partnership with the MasterCard Foundation in Uganda.
1971- Bangladesh embarked on a war that would bring about its liberation. Fast forward to March of the following year, BRAC emerged as a small relief operation faced with huge challenges- a broken economy and abject poverty.
When a humanitarian crisis of this scale hits, it can be easy to overlook the local players — especially as large, international aid groups step in to respond
“Wait, let me get my glasses first”. How many times have we heard this expression from our colleagues, parents and friends or pronounced it ourselves? And experienced a feeling of relief as the blur of black waves turns into a legible text! Reading glasses are ubiquitous in our society: we use them when we are working, reading, watching news, etc. – so that we consider them as a basic necessity and take them as granted.Yet, in some parts of the developing world, a pair of reading glasses can be a hard-to-access luxury, available in expensive optic shops in urban areas. This means that millions of men and women lose a great part of their economic productivity, not to mention emotional well-being, as the acuteness of their vision decreases with age. A lot of young people with a weak vision have to forego opportunities to be engaged in certain professions such as jewelry or weaving, or cannot advance in education because of limited reading.
Through a combination of grants from Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, American Jewish World Service, Child Relief International, and Grapes for Humanity/US, BRAC will soon be opening a Limb and Brace Center in Haiti. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that the number injured by the January 12th earthquake in Haiti earthquake is between 200,000 and 250,000 people. The number of people who needed amputations as a result of their injuries is estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000. BRAC has over a decade of experience running a limb and brace center in Bangladesh and will leverage that knowledge to provide low cost ICRC approved prosthetic and orthotic services to 1,500 Haitians in the first year of operations.
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.
Innovation and technology are seen as the solutions to the educational deprivation of millions of children in the developing world. How does the technology-based model of innovation relate to the real world of learners, teachers, schools, families and the communities that we live in?
Dhaka resident Mohammad Ali lost the life he had known within seconds because of river erosion. He was forced to come to the capital and largest metropolitan area in Bangladesh in search of a better future. He is another face in the sea of 6.5 million people who have migrated to the city.
For those who are too poor even to benefit from microfinance loans, BRAC has a special program providing the ultra poor with a pathway out of poverty. Instead of giving these women loans, BRAC gives them assets: a cow, chickens, seeds, fabric for sewing, etc. depending on the livelihood they want to pursue. We provide them with training and extra support, like feed and vaccinations, and visit them every week to check on the progress of their new business and make sure they’re able to meet their basic needs.