15 February 2008, Dhaka. BRAC celebrated its 35th anniversary on Friday, 15 February 2008, through an evening of music and entertainment at the Dhaka Army Stadium in Bangladesh. Nearly 15,000 members of the BRAC family traveled to Dhaka from around the country to take part in the festivities.
BRAC Founder and Chairperson, Fazle Hasan Abed, inaugurated the event. Highlights of the festivities included performances by popular artists including Runa Laila, Momtaz, Kumar Biswajit, Syed Abdul Hadi, Samina Chowdhury and Salma. The event also included dance choreography by Lubna Mariam and dance performances by Ria and Sohel. Popular television personality Abdun Noor Tushar hosted the event as the master of ceremonies. Specially designed interactive games and raffle draws were included to engage the audience.
The event was organized to pay tribute to the commitment and decades of hard work of BRAC’s staff in poverty alleviation in Bangladesh. Due to space constraints, only the oldest of BRAC’s over 56,000 full-time staff, 60,000 schools teachers and 70,000 health volunteers were invited. Originally scheduled to be held on December 15, the 35th anniversary celebrations were postponed in order to pay tribute to the victims of Cyclone Sidr and because some 3,000 BRAC staff members were dedicated to full-time post-Sidr relief and rehabilitation efforts.
02 January 2008, Dhaka. Speakers at a view-exchange meeting on Thursday stressed the need for setting up a ‘centre for journalism’ in the country to provide training and education to working journalists and to carry out research.
The meeting on opening of ‘centre for journalism’ was held at a city hotel where BRAC University officials and local journalists from both print and electronic media were present. Golam Kibria, Manzur Elahi Shibli and Zahid Hossain of BRAC University briefed the local journalists on various issues such as in-depth and investigative reporting. USAID has initiated a four-year project styled ‘Promoting Governance, Accountability, Trans-parency and Integrity’ designed to assist Bangladesh to combat corruption.
Under the project, Institute of Governance Studies and BRAC have been selected to set up the ‘centre for journalism’ in Bangladesh based on a thorough assessment of 16 local organisations. The officials suggested imparting training on issues like investigative reporting in print and electronic media, reporting and modern technology, laws, regulations and ethics, budget and financial reporting and community radio. Issues relating to media report, research on journalism and working atmosphere, in-depth and investigative reporting and fee-based training, certificate, diploma and credit courses for undergraduates also came up at the meeting for discussion.
A non-partisan advisory board to provide long-term guidance to the centre would be formed through discussion with media managers, senior reporters and academics, the officials said. Local journalists also agreed with BRAC officials on the necessity of training, academic courses and researches and urged to assist the media houses in developing journalism outside Dhaka with ensuring congenial working atmosphere. They also stressed need for maintaining rules, laws and ethical values in journalism with objectivity and introduce online, basic and advance courses on journalism, information technology and English language for the journalists outside Dhaka, taking into account their academic, financial and professional limitations.
21 November 2007, Dhaka. Two senior officials from BRAC, a Director and Programme Head, travelled to Afghanistan today as part of BRAC’s ongoing efforts to secure the release of Area Manager Nurul Islam, who was kidnapped two months ago.
BRAC has been communicating continuously at the highest levels with the Afghan authorities concerned in order to ensure the safe return of Nurul Islam. Both the Governments of Bangladesh and Afghanistan have extended their full support to BRAC in this matter.
Nurul Islam (37) was abducted in the Logar province on 15 September 2007. He had been working in Afghanistan for more than two years as a BRAC Area Manager.
21 November 2007, Dhaka. BRAC is carrying out extensive relief operations in 2,537 villages in 60 worst affected upazilas across 11 districts of Bangladesh. More than 2,500 BRAC staff and 13 medical teams are engaged in providing round-the-clock relief and medical care to the victims. Immediately following the cyclone, BRAC launched its emergency relief programme, initially allocating Tk. 7 crore. Two senior BRAC Directors are supervising relief operations on location.
To date, 30,318 affected families have received relief packets from BRAC. BRAC plans to reach 150,000 families with relief by the end of next week. Each relief packet contains rice (10 kg), biscuits (2 packets), lentils (2 kg), potatoes (2 kg), salt (1 kg) and oil (250 mg).
13 BRAC medical teams are working in the remotest of the affected areas to provide medical care to the victims and have already treated nearly 2,000 patients. In addition, BRAC health workers are also providing support to 122 government medical teams. In order to overcome the critical shortage of potable water, the medical teams are also working with the local communities to clean ponds and are distributing water purifying tablets to make the pond water safe to drink.
BRAC is also collecting donations and contributions of relief materials from home and abroad at the BRAC head office in Dhaka in order to support the expansion of its relief efforts. The BRAC offices in Dhaka have also initiated a clothing drive to collect winter clothes for the victims.
19 November 2007, Dhaka. Cyclone victims are in immediate need of potable drinking water as the cyclone has flooded tubewells with saline water and also ruined surface water sources. Without access to clean drinking water as well as proper sanitation facilities, the risk of waterborne diseases has become critical, especially for children. Currently, BRAC staff on the ground providing immediate relief and medical care are distributing water purification tablets to be used with pond water. Pond cleaning drives and insertion of deep tube wells will also be initiated following emergency relief. To alleviate the current potable water crisis, BRAC is seeking assistance in procuring water desalinating systems.
BRAC Head Office staff have also initiated a clothes drive in Dhaka to collect winter clothing for the cyclone victims.
19 September 2007, Dhaka. The body of BRAC Area Manager Abdul Alim (37), who was killed by unidentified assailants in Afghanistan, has been buried today at his village in Tangail. Senior BRAC officials from the head office and regional offices attended the burial.
The body of the deceased was brought back in to the country from Kabul on an Emirates Airlines flight earlier this morning, at 11 am. Family members of the deceased and senior BRAC officials received the body at the Zia International Airport and escorted it to his home in the village of Digore, in Ghatail upazila of Tangail district. The namaz-e-janaza of the deceased was held at a local mosque and attended by thousands. His body was then buried at 5 pm at the family graveyard.
A gayebana janaza for the deceased was held at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka after zohr prayers which was attended by all BRAC head office staff.
Mr. Alim was shot to death by a group of unidentified gunmen in a village in the Badakshan province of Afghanistan on 12 September. Mr. Alim joined BRAC in 01 January 1996 and had been working in Afghanistan as BRAC’s Microfinance Programme Area Manager since 16 November 2005. His wife, Shahnaz Naznin, was also working for BRAC’s Health Programme prior to their marriage. Mr. Alim left behind his wife and two young children, Abdullah Al Nafiz (7) and Abdullah Al Noman (4).
18 September 2007, Dhaka. BRAC Founder and Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed has expressed great concern regarding the kidnapping, in Afghanistan, of BRAC Area Manager Nurul Islam and appealed for his immediate release. He has also expressed deep sadness at the recent killing, in Afghanistan, of BRAC Area Manager Md. Abdul Alim.
In a written statement sent last night from New York where he is attending a series of conferences, Mr. Abed has said, “I am extremely concerned at hearing the news of our co-worker, Nurul Islam, being kidnapped in Afghanistan on Saturday and appeal to his abductors to release him immediately. The Government of Bangladesh has been extending all possible collaboration in our efforts to secure his release by contacting relevant authorities in Afghanistan. I also request the authorities in Afghanistan to do all that they can to secure the release of Nurul as early as possible. BRAC will cooperate fully with the Afghan authorities and provide all necessary support. I wish to convey my sympathies to Nurul’s family as they face this ordeal and assure them that BRAC will do everything in its power to bring Nurul back to safety at the earliest.
“I am also deeply saddened at the killing of another co-worker, Abdul Alim, in Afghanistan last week. The killing of Alim, who was in Afghanistan to work for the country’s development, was senseless and I sincerely hope that the Afghan authorities will quickly bring the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice. I send my deepest condolences to Alim’s family and my thoughts are with them at this time as they come to terms with this terrible loss. I assure them that BRAC will do everything in its capacity to provide them with continued support.
“We have an extremely dedicated and courageous team of Bangladeshi development experts working in Afghanistan to ameliorate the suffering of the Afghan people. I salute them and their unwavering commitment to serve humanity.”
25 March 2007, Dhaka. For its pioneering role in socioeconomic development, the Government of Bangladesh has awarded BRAC the highest national award, the "Swadhinota Puroshkar" (Independence Award) for 2007.
16 January 2007, Dhaka. On January 15th, the NoVo Foundation hosted a reception for BRAC USA's board members, advisory council members, staff, and friends. Since supporting the launch of BRAC USA in 2007, NoVo has been a deeply committed partner and this event was the latest instance of their invaluable support.
Guests began arriving at 6:30 PM and were greeted with drinks, hors d'oeuvres, panoramic views of midtown Manhattan, and an exhibit of photographs representing BRAC programmes.
After a first round of introductions, Jennifer Buffet gave a characteristically gracious welcome describing NoVo's engagement with BRAC and the reasons for their support.
"BRAC listens to what is living inside of people. They realize that the answers are on the ground with the people who live in a place - and this must be understood, empowered, harnessed and leveraged. BRAC works through and with the grassroots - with ordinary and extraordinary local people and talent."
Susan Davis, BRAC USA's President and CEO, thanked Jennifer and Peter for their commitment to BRAC and told the story of two BRAC women. The first was Jhonuka, a Bangladeshi girl and BRAC member whose photo was selected for the cover of Ian Smilie's book about BRAC, Freedom From Want, which will be published in April. We hope you will pre-order a copy from Amazon or directly from the publisher. Susan then spoke about Veronica, the first Ugandan to be hired at BRAC Uganda, who has been twice promoted and appointed as head trainer for the microfinance programme.
Lincoln Chen, Chair of the Board, then spoke about the late Alan Rosenfield, BRAC USA's former Chairperson, and his considerable contribution to BRAC.
The occasion marked the first meeting of board and advisory council members; hence there was an enthusiastic exchange of BRAC stories. Everyone was in high spirits and there was a special sense of great, like-minded people, connecting on issues they feel passionately about.