When you first meet Jackie, it is difficult not be to be taken by her charm. She sat opposite me in her calm, collected, yet casual poise, occasionally breaking out in laughter. But she still managed to exhibit a stern resolution as we discussed what it meant to part of BRAC’s first batch of international young professionals.
Let’s start by asking, what does the name BRAC represent to you? Sure, it is the largest NGO in the world that confronts poverty with a holistic approach by providing financial services, health, education and social justice. Statistics will tell you that more than 100,000 BRAC-ites are working ceaselessly to reach 135 million people in Bangladesh and 11 other nations. As a revered and inspired global leader in international development, BRAC has an indubitable presence of its own.
Life had not been kind to 12-year-old Shohag. Living in a Dhaka slum, home to some of the worst forms of poverty and depravation in Bangladesh, Shohag lacked access to basic rights such as a secure shelter, food, drinking water and an education. His father died in a construction accident a year ago and when his mother remarried, he found it difficult to see eye to eye with his stepfather. Shohag preferred to face the harsh realities of Dhaka’s streets, looking to earn money any way he could to avoid sleeping hungry at night.