Fazle Hasan Abed, the founding father of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the world’s most successful Non Government Organizations, has reportedly died in Dhaka, at age 83. the charity said.
Mr. Abed died while undergoing surgery for a brain tumour, according to a statement that was released by the charity on Friday. “We will honour his legacy with the same resilience, dignity and humility that he has instilled in us,” the charity said.
Fazle Hasan Abed was a certified accountant from a prestigious London institution. He worked with oil drilling master Shell, a company he left in 1971 despite a huge salary when war broke out in Bangladesh.
About the same time, Abed sold his flat in London and used the proceed to establish BRAC after the bloody war for freedom ended the following year. Initially, the NGO assisted millions of refugees who returned to the new country, and later it diversified into healthcare, micro-finance, agriculture and education, areas where it did marvelously well.
“BRAC decided to look at poverty as a multi-dimensional syndrome: not just income poverty, but poverty in terms of healthcare, in terms of education, the things that keep poor people poor,” Abed narrated in an interview in 2010.
BRAC’s poverty alleviation program method has been hailed as the major reason behind the drop in the rate of Bangladeshis living in extreme poverty from 80 percent to about 40 percent.
With a 100,000 local employees worldwide, BRAC expanded it success to Africa including southern Sudan and was loudly hailed by former US president Bill Clinton and other world figures.
BRAC’s international movement started in 2001 when Abed followed the collapse of the Taliban regime and was struck by the parallels with Bangladesh in the early 1970s, and quite considerably included into its program sanitation, health camps and child delivery centres to Rohingya refugees living in sprawling camps in Bangladesh.
According to the World Food Prize, which honoured Abed as its Laureate in 2015, the NGO has assisted about 150 million people out of poverty. The philanthropist was also honoured as a knight in Britain in 2010.
The major element of BRAC’s success in Afghanistan and some other developing countries where it has spread to “is that we are from a developing country. We know and understand poverty,” Abed told the media after his knighthood was published in Britain’s New Year honours list.