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Partner of the Week: BRAC Bangladesh

Posted in Partner of The Week on September 1, 2017

BRAC, one of the largest non-governmental organisations in the world, was founded in 1972 with the initial focus on refugee assistance. BRAC’s vision is of a just, enlightened, healthy and democratic world free from hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and all forms of exploitation based on age, sex and ethnicity.

BRAC’s education programme was launched in Bangladesh in 1985 with the goal to make a significant contribution to the achievement of education for all in Bangladesh. The programme focuses on underprivileged children who are out of the formal education system and provides them with pre-primary, primary and secondary education in collaboration with partner NGOs. Aflatoun is one of these NGOs. In July 2008, BRAC opted to pilot the Aflatoun concept at primary and secondary schools. The Aflatoun programme started at 30 schools at two locations. The overall results of the pilot programme were highly encouraging; children were very interested and enthusiastic about the Aflatoun classes, saving habit was successfully instilled in children and all participating kids were saving. Providing children with a safe savings box was a great encouragement. So BRAC and Aflatoun decided to continue with the programme and to expand it. By 2016 there were 19,226 BRAC schools implementing the Aflatoun programme in 63 districts across Bangladesh with 29,813 trained teachers delivering the programme to 547,930 students (60% girls) for 2 hours per week.

Shamim’s story

Twelve year old Shamim studies in class V at a BRAC primary school. His father is a rickshaw puller and his mother is a housewife. Shamim is very happy to keep savings in the Aflatoun box. At the beginning of the Aflatoun programme, Shamim bought a hen. After a while, the hen laid eggs. He got more chickens from those eggs and sold those at the market. One day, Shamim’s father needed to repair the rickshaw, but he was unable to do so due to lack of money. At that time, Shamim gave him money from his savings to pay for the reparation. Shamim proudly said, “I am very happy to help my parents”. In addition, he will use his savings to buy his educational materials if his father is unable to provide this.