BRAC at 50: Stories of Hope
These six stories highlight women from around the world making an impact in their homes and communities.
Photo by Alison Wright
BY NATHANIEL WORLEY
After 50 years, BRAC continues to prioritize women with a human-centric approach and community-led solutions. From Bangladesh to the world, discover six stories of women making an impact.
Nilufar Yasmin, BRAC Community Health Worker, Bangladesh
Despite many challenges along the way, Nilufar strived to make her dreams come true.
“My dream of becoming a doctor evaporated when I was married at 13. A mother of two by the time I was 19, I unexpectedly got a second chance in life when I saw an opportunity to train as a community health worker. A patriarchal society and an abusive husband stood in my way, but I decided to pursue my dream anyway. Today, I look after the health needs of 300 households in Gazipur, Bangladesh.”
At the heart of BRAC’s health programs are trained and dedicated community health workers who deliver critical care door to door, providing basic preventative and curative care in their communities.
Ayesha, participant, BRAC COVID-19 response, Bangladesh
Ayesha wears her mask while shopping at a local market.
She is one of more than 18,000 people who received reusable masks in early 2021 amid a new wave of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. BRAC contracted local artisans to produce the masks, providing them with an additional source of income while promoting public health in the most vulnerable communities.
“I was very happy to receive three colorful masks. I always wear a mask when I go out and wash it immediately with soap and water after coming home as instructed.” – Ayesha
Jennifer Manasa, participant, BRAC education program, South Sudan
Jennifer never gave up on education.
Despite losing her parents to AIDS and becoming a single mother of two by 17, she still returned to school. “I never gave up on education though. I’m now back at school for the third time, with my two daughters,” Jennifer shares.
From cradle to career, BRAC’s educational offerings stretch into adulthood, enabling learners of all ages to gain the skills they need to thrive in today’s job market.
Josephine, auto mechanic, Liberia
“Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents transformed my life. It helped me to find my passion and gave me life and work skills so that I am able to make my own money.” —Josephine
Josephine, 20, graduated from BRAC’s Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents program in November 2021. With support from BRAC, Josephine received free vocational training as an auto-electric mechanic at a garage, an untraditional path for women. Now, she is continuing full-time as an apprentice at the garage, where she earns income to support her two daughters.
Nkwaya Ikinda, entrepreneur, Tanzania
Nkwaya smiles as she helps light up rural communities in Tanzania.
BRAC’s microloans enable the underserved to access solar-powered lighting via a women-driven distribution network. With over 166,000 clients and growing, rural Tanzania glows a bit brighter every night as more opportunities are found for those often left in the dark.
“I spent 34 years stuck in an abusive marriage. Famine and malnutrition killed my children…I was determined to give my community a brighter future, so I started my own organization. Now, I have a bigger, happier family.”
Khin Thu, farmer, Myanmar
Khin Thu runs a pig farm in Shwe Nat Taung, Myanmar. At first, she struggled to get her business off the ground. But when she applied for a low-interest agriculture loan from BRAC, she was able to invest in her business by purchasing more piglets and feed. Since then, her monthly income has tripled, and she is using her increased earnings to invest in her family’s future and deposit a portion in her BRAC savings account each month.
“I love spending time with my family and grandson. I have enough money now, and I am planning to build a big farm outside of my house like I have always dreamt of.” – Khin Thu
Over the course of 50 years, BRAC has empowered people to rise out of poverty, not only in Bangladesh, but also widely across Africa and Asia.
These six stories represent a small fraction of the millions of lives BRAC has impacted thanks to our staff, partners, and community of supporters. We are beyond grateful for the continued support we have received in our efforts to eradicate poverty.
As BRAC prepares for the next 50 years of service and partnership with communities, we believe these stories signal the power of hope and potential from tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and leaders in the global south.
Supporters like you are our greatest gift. Visit our 50th birthday page to learn more about the past 50 years of igniting hope.