29 September 2010, Dhaka. With a vow to raise awareness of individuals` right to access government information and to promote access to information as a fundamental human right, BRAC Advocacy Unit celebrated the ‘International Right to Know Day’ on September 28, 2010 as an active member of ‘Right to Information –RTI Forum’.
BRAC strongly believes that the right to know is every individual’s fundamental human right. As a manifestation of that belief BRAC Advocacy Unit celebrated the day both at District and Upazilla level in collaboration with the RTI Forum. The activities of celebration included rallies, discussion sessions, seminars, melas and cultural programs in 27 districts and 84 Upazillas throughout the country.
20 August 2010, Dhaka. Business leaders and professionals in the North West of England have responded generously to BRAC’s call for public support for Vision Bangladesh. Fundraising events so far have raised close to £10,000 since July 2010 and more are planned for the future.
Sandra Kabir, Executive Director, BRAC UK, praised the commitment that British-Bangladesh professional affiliations are showing towards eradicating cataract blindness in Sylhet by 2014.
“We are really delighted with the support so far from our northern supporters. All the funds raised by these events are sent directly to the project in Bangladesh. The money goes a long way – just £20 buys a cataract operation for a poor widow isolated by blindness in her village and £30 provides 20 people free glasses so they can see again. Thank you for all your dedication and keep up the good work – we still have a long way to go to reach our target of £3 million.”
Recent activities include:
“We hope that our contribution will go a long way to help those who are less fortunate and with better can build their lives. We are grateful for all the donations made at the Charity Iftar.” Mohammed Dobir Miah, RBPP Secretary.
“It is a privilege and an honour to be supporting such an excellent initiative with clear goals. We were absolutely delighted to welcome to our event, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of BRAC, who is such an inspiration to the world.” Monchab Ali, Central Chair, Greater Sylhet Council and owner of Bengal Dynasty.
Vision Bangladesh is a partnership programme between BRAC and Sightsavers in Bangladesh with the targeting of eliminating avoidable blindness in Sylhet by 2014. Screenings, treatment and operations started in January 2010 and so far 1,300 poor people have undergone a cataract operation, and 7,000 people have been screened.
For more information on how to support Vision Bangladesh, and organise a fundraiser in your area, please contact:
Penelope Mawson, Director of Development and Communications, BRAC UK
Tanvir Ahmed, Media Consultant, BRAC UK
Muzahid Khan, Manchester Supporter Group Coordinator, BRAC UK
22 September 2010, Dhaka. Today at the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit Special Event on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed pledged to mobilize $700 million over the next five years to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child and maternal mortality and saving the lives of millions of the worlds most vulnerable in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Haiti.
“Over the last few years, BRAC’s health program in Bangladesh has generated significant reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality,” said Sir Fazle. BRAC has been providing support to pregnant women in rural Bangladesh and more recently in urban Bangladesh with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “We want to improve women’s and children’s health not only to reach the MDGs by 2015 but to exceed them,” said Sir Fazle.
Every year, 8 million children die preventable deaths – 3.2 million die less than a month after they are born – and 500,000 women die in childbirth in the world’s poorest countries. The UN’s latest figures demonstrate progress is being made: the number of child deaths per day has declined to 22,000 - 12,000 fewer per day than in 1990. Nonetheless, only 9 of 64 countries with the highest mortality of children under 5 are on track to meet their goals for reducing child deaths by 2015.
Sir Fazle said, “Guided by the conviction that all lives have equal value, we must do all we can to stop the unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies. We can harness the advances in science and technology to save lives – not just in rich countries – but everywhere.”
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ABOUT BRAC (formerly Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee)
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. For more information, please visit www.bracusa.org.
09 July 2010, Dhaka. International development NGOs BRAC and Sightsavers have today launched an appeal to raise £3m to transform the lives of 100,000 poor Bangladeshi’s living in the Sylhet District by providing them with sight-restoring operations and eliminating treatable blindness.
In Bangladesh over one million people are blind, yet 80% of this blindness is due to cataract, a clouding of the eye’s lens, which can be cured with a straightforward and cost-effective operation. Sadly in Bangladesh, many people do not realise their blindness could be cured, or they don’t have the money or time to visit a hospital. Without surgery people can find themselves falling further into poverty as they become increasingly dependent on their family and stop going to work or school. Devastatingly 50% of children who go blind will die within two years.
In the north east region of Bangladesh, Sylhet, which has a population of 13 million, almost 60,000 people are blind, with cataract remaining the largest cause. With a huge waiting list for operations and around 9,000 new cases of cataract blindness occurring every year there are vast numbers of people who are needlessly blind. The Vision Bangladesh Appeal will target the poorest and most marginalised communities in the region, screening one million people between now and 2014 and providing operations, or glasses, for those who need them.
From teams of specially trained community health workers offering hygiene and general health information to cataract surgeons and specialised doctors, the appeal will also ensure there are more professionals in the region to identify and treat eye problems.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder & Chairperson, BRAC comments: “The Vision Bangladesh Appeal is an important opportunity for the British-Bangladeshcommunity in the UK to make a measured and lasting difference. The gift of sight is something so precious and with their help we can have a huge impact on lives of those living in poverty.”
A start up phase has already begun in the region and over 1,000 surgeries have been conducted and a further 970 people have been prescribed glasses to improve their vision.
Dr Wahidul Islam, Bangladesh Country Director for Sightsavers comments: “We are so excited to be working together with BRAC to tackle the huge task of eliminating avoidable blindness in Sylhet. Combining our expertise and resources is essential if we are to train more surgeons, build and equip new eye care centres and find those desperately in need of an sight restoring operations. The result will be a lasting impact for individuals, families and communities.”
The appeal will transform the lives of people like fifty year old Padma Kormi who was blind in both eyes with cataracts. Padma from the village of Mourapur in Sylhet had lost her job on the tea estates and became extremely poor and vulnerable. She was one of the first people to be treated by Vision Bangladesh. Now having had surgery Padma can see again and is very happy to be able to return to her job and be independent again.
More details of the Appeal, including a film can be found at [www.sightsavers.org/visionbangladesh]
For British-Bangladesh media, please contact Tanvir Ahmed, 44 (0) 7782 415491
Notes to Editors:
1. BRAC was founded by Fazle Hasan Abed in February 1972, soon after the liberation of Bangladesh and has grown to become one of the largest NGOs in the world employing more than 120,000 people, the majority of which are women, and reaching more than 110 million people in Asia and Africa.
2. BRAC achieves large scale, rapid change by working with individuals, families, communities, and institutions, to overcome poverty. Our approach is comprehensive – with financial services, capacity building and livelihood development as well as health, education and social justice – enabling people to realise their potential.
3. BRAC’s health programme in Bangladesh covers a population of 100 million people and operates through a network of 85,000 trained women community health volunteers who every month visit 11 million households providing essential health care.
4. BRAC UK was founded in 2006 to help mobilise support for BRAC’s international work (registered charity number 1115482).
5. Currently BRAC has country programmes in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda as providing technical assistance in Haiti, India, Indonesia, Sudan, and Yemen,
1. Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people who are blind and visually impaired. www.sightsavers.org
2. There are 45 million blind people in the world; 75% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.
3. Every sixty seconds another child loses their sight; only 2% of children who are disabled in the developing world attend school
4. 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of Sightsavers, originally called the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, which was founded in 1950 by the late Sir John Wilson.
5. In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:
6. Sightsavers has worked in Bangladesh since 1973 and last year treated over 873,057 people, including performing over 72,000 cataract operations and providing 167,000 people with spectacles
17 September 2010, Dhaka. This week, BRAC was finally able to open its limb and brace center and began serving patients in Haiti.
One of our Limb and Brace Center staff fits a
young girl for a prosthetic leg.
We had 10 patients come to the Center on the first day, as well as a few other guest and supporters, including the Haitian Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Persons with disabilities, Dr. Michel Pean. Here are some pictures from opening day:
Our staff from the Limb and Brace Center in Bangladesh
The Limb and Brace Center workshop, where artificial limbs and
Dr. Ripon, the head of BRAC's Limb and Brace Center, with
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.