It has been a few days since Dr Mahabub Hossain has left us. As more and more people are remembering him, it is clear what a profound impact he had on those he crossed paths with. As a leader, Dr Mahabub’s contribution was immense in BRAC as well.
In Bangladesh, far too many students do not get the chance to go to college. In a country where 30 per cent of the population are young (10-24 years), it remains evident that much of the potential remain untapped, and too many young voices go unheard. Medhabikash, a scholarship programme that funds meritorious and underprivileged students, offers a second chance at learning- the kind that transcends social and economic boundaries.
Imagine you have just received the result of your secondary school certificate exam (equivalent to GCSE O’Levels). Congratulations! You have been awarded the highest grades: GPA 5, securing more than 80 per cent in all the subjects. You and your whole family celebrate while you start planning to go to a top college. Future is all set! But what if you are an indigenous girl in a poor family of five like Laome? Or what if your father is unemployed and your mother takes care of you and your three siblings on her own like Habib’s family? The future does not look that bright now – it looks quite bleak.
“I couldn’t help but teach – it was the only way I could manage time and space to get my own studies done,” says Habib with a wide grin. He was enjoying my reaction as upon hearing this, the biscuit I was having dropped from my hand. Habib is from the first batch of students to receive BRAC’s Medhabikash scholarship. He is now a lecturer at a private university in Dhaka, and he looks nothing like one.
Liton Hossain hails from the village of Chatua, in Natore, Bangladesh. He was one of the first students to receive a Medhabikash scholarship for his higher secondary certificate (HSC) studies. Liton went on to receive the scholarship again for his undergraduate degree, which he completed from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology in 2012. He is now completing a master’s in electrical and electronic engineering at University Teknikal Malaysia Melaka in Malaysia with a full scholarship. In his own words, Liton talks about overcoming his struggles and how his life changed after receiving a BRAC Medhabikash scholarship:
In March, the social innovation lab launched the BRAC Innovation Fund for Mobile Money. The challenge fund was an opportunity for us to think ‘digitally,’ and explore the potential of mobile money to innovate and improve BRAC’s work.
BRAC’s holistic approach to poverty alleviation is a function of its core beliefs, and BRAC’s Education Programme in particular is an example of a development tool that promotes advancement over a lifetime.