17 September 2010, Dhaka. Almost 21 million people are now reported as having been directly affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan. With 23 out of 94 BRAC Pakistan’s microfinance branches affected by the flooding, BRAC is close to the people and communities that have been suffering as the disaster began to unfold in July.
“The rains started on July 28th and within the weekend 9 out of 12 of our microfinance branches were flooded,” said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. He noted that “As a NGO that originated in Bangladesh, we are very familiar with floods and cyclones. We have worked on emergencies for many years. In Pakistan BRAC started relief work immediately. People had lost everything and they needed us to help them.”
BRAC Pakistan launched relief efforts using its institutional knowledge of emergency relief, and its network of community volunteers to identify and provide support to communities in greatest need benefiting over 200,000 people.
As the flood waters recede, rebuilding the lives of those who have most suffered will be the primary focus of the BRAC partnership with the American Pakistan Foundation.
Mr. Awais Khan, CEO of the American Pakistan Foundation, said “We want to ensure that people recover their assets and their ability to earn an income so they can regain their dignity. We are confident that our partnership with BRAC is a great step towards this recovery effort.”
The American Pakistan Foundation will be supporting BRAC, through its U.S. affiliate BRAC USA, to start livelihood recovery efforts across three districts in the Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan. The program will enable 200 households, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, who have been completely devastated by the disaster, to recover their assets and livelihoods.
Susan Davis, President & CEO of BRAC USA, stated that “BRAC is committed to working with the flood affected communities and for Pakistan’s development.” She said, “We are very pleased to partner with the American Pakistan Foundation, because of its deep and long term commitment to the country.” Ms. Davis added that “BRAC USA encourages people to join this partnership and text BRAC to 20222 to give $10 through their cell phone. We hope to work together to mobilize wider support and empathy for the plight of those suffering from conflict and disaster, and generate greater action.”
BRAC, the largest non-profit in the developing world, was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and currently touches the lives of more than 138 million people through its programs addressing poverty including micro-loans, education, health services, self-employment opportunities and human rights education. BRAC has provided $6.7 billion in micro-loans to nearly eight million borrowers, mostly women, and created 9 million self-employment opportunities. BRAC’s 84,000 community health promoters have provided basic health services to nearly 100 million people. Currently, BRAC has programs in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.
BRAC began operations in Pakistan in 2007 through a microfinance program. It serves over 106,000 members in 94 branches. It has cumulatively disbursed $18 million in loans averaging $161 and has loans outstanding of $7.7 million. In addition to microfinance, BRAC now operates programs in health and education. Through its almost 1,000 staff, BRAC is currently serving about 437,465 people in 14 districts across four provinces.
BRAC USA is a 501(c)3 affiliate in New York. To learn more about BRAC, please visit www.bracusa.org.
About American Pakistan Foundation
Founded and led by Pakistani-Americans and friends of Pakistan at a critical moment in Pakistan's history, the American Foundation (APF) is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the social and economic condition of the people of Pakistan APF's mission is to expand development initiatives in education, public health, social entrepreneurship and poverty-alleviation with a vision to advance mutual understanding between the peoples of the US and Pakistan. APF is a focused effort on developing a secure and transparent channel for effectively mobilizing greater public and private resources from the Pakistani Diaspora and friends of Pakistan to expand the most credible and effective programs dedicated to Pakistan's social and economic development.
For more information, please visit www.americanpakistan.org.
President & CEO
1 212 808 5615
President and CEO
American Pakistan Foundation
1 646 430 8272
22 September 2010, Dhaka. BRAC won the prestigious ‘Communication for Sustainable Social Change’ (CSSC), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2010 Award in recognition for the organisation’s outstanding contributions in the field of Communication for Social Change, especially in the arena of Advocacy and Gender Equality. This annual award acknowledges BRAC’s innovative Advocacy process for sustainable development.
BRAC Advocacy Unit’s exclusive and innovative social communication process and GQAL project of Gender Justice and Diversity Section has paved the way for BRAC to gain this honor. Jogajog Forum (Communication Forum), Migration Forum and Gender Justice educator are a few very exclusive examples of BRAC’s Commitment to long-term Sustainable Social Change.
Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) is an independent organisation created as a “Centre of Excellence” within the College of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the flagship school of the state’s five campus university system.
This Award is given annually to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the “theory and practice of Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC)”. The winners are selected by an independent jury consisting of senior academics, media and aid and development representatives. BRAC will be announced as the 2010 Communication for Sustainable Social Change Award winner during CSSC’s first anniversary celebrations on September 21, 2010 in the studios of Amherst Community Television.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
23 May 2008, Dhaka. BRAC Founder and Chairperson, Fazle Hasan Abed, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Columbia University in the United States for his comprehensive approach to fighting poverty, the powerful model of social change that he has introduced and his abiding commitment to serving the poorest and most vulnerable. Abed was conferred his degree by Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, at its 254th commencement ceremony, held on Wednesday, 21 May in New York.
“One of the world’s most effective humanitarians, you have transformed the lives of millions through the work of your organization, BRAC. Your vision is audacious, the scale of your work inspires awe and the results you have achieved are a stunning example to the world of our potential to successfully fight poverty and save lives. You have been recognized by many organizations for your commitment to improving life on this planet; we are honored to acknowledge you again today.” reads his citation.
Columbia, one of the world's leading universities and a member of the Ivy League, was founded in 1754, making the University the fifth oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
Abed founded BRAC in 1972 to help rehabilitate returning refuges from India to newly independent Bangladesh. Later, BRAC changed its focus to long-term community development. Today, BRAC is the largest non-governmental organisation in the world and its programmes in education, health, economic and social development and human rights and legal services cover a population in excess of 100 million. In addition to numerous national and international awards, Abed was previously awarded degrees of Doctor of Laws by Queen’s University in Canada, Doctor in Education by the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and Doctor of Humane Letters by Yale University in the United States in recognition of his work with BRAC.