Today, Monday, is the second death anniversary of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed who founded the world’s largest NGO – Brac.
He died on December 20 in 2019 at a hospital in Dhaka.
Sir Fazle established BRAC in 1972 as a small relief and rehabilitation effort carried out in a remote area of Sylhet division.
That organisation transformed itself to one of the largest and most effective NGOs of the world through successful socio-economic programmes in many sectors carried out in the last five decades.
BRAC now stands as a unique ecosystem interweaving microfinance, social enterprises, university, bank and multidimensional investments targeting the development of the poor and marginalised people.
It now provides multifaceted services to over 100 million people in 12 countries of Asia and Africa, assisting them in bringing lasting changes in their lives. Sir Fazle was born in 1936 in Bangladesh. He studied accountancy in London, qualifying as a cost
management accountant in 1962. While he was working as a senior corporate executive at Pakistan Shell Oil, the 1970 cyclone and 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh dramatically changed the direction of his life.
He left his job and moved to London, where he helped initiate Action Bangladesh and HELP Bangladesh in support of the Liberation War.
Early in 1972, after the war was over, he returned to the newly-independent Bangladesh, finding the economy in ruins.
The return of 10 million refugees who had sought shelter in India during the war called for urgent relief and rehabilitation efforts. Sir Fazle established BRAC to address the needs of the refugees in a remote area of north-eastern Bangladesh, guided by a desire to help people living in poverty develop their own capacity to better manage their lives.
He was honoured with numerous national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the Yidan Prize for Education Development (2019), LEGO Prize (2018), World Food Prize (2015), Spanish Order of Civil Merit (2014), Inaugural WISE Prize for Education (2011), David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007), UNDP Mahbubul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development (2004), Olof Palme Prize (2001) and Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership (1980).
He has also been recognised by Ashoka as one of the ‘global greats’; and is a founding member of its prestigious Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship.