This post is the first in a series shedding light on the early years of Bangladesh, and a man whose contributions were instrumental in the remarkable strides the country has made since then. The post has been translated after it originally appeared on Prothom Alo, Bangladesh's leading daily newspaper.
I can think of few people who have done more for the world's deprived population than Fazle Hasan Abed. His contribution spans Bangladesh where BRAC, the organisation he founded in 1972, services close to 10 million of the country's underprivileged households.
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.
It was the summer of 1975. I was working in Oxford with a student group campaigning on world poverty and in support of liberation movements in Africa and Asia. Oxfam House was just down the road. They were recruiting an assistant to work in Saigon.