BRAC founder Fazle Hasan Abed passes away

Monday 23rd December 2019 14:17 EST

The founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the world's largest NGOs, has died in Dhaka aged 83. Fazle Hasan Abed passed away while undergoing treatment for a brain tumour.

Abed trained as an accountant in London and quit his job with oil giant Shell when war broke out in Bangladesh in 1971. Using the proceeds of the sale of his London flat, he founded BRAC after the bloody battle for independence ended the following year. At first, BRAC helped millions of refugees who streamed back into the new country, and then it diversified into healthcare, micro-finance, agriculture and education.

The NGO's approach has been hailed as one factor behind the drop in the proportion of Bangladeshis living in extreme poverty from 80 percent to around 40 percent of the population.

The approach proved so successful that BRAC, which has more than 100,000 local employees worldwide expanded into Africa -- including southern Sudan -- and has been lauded by world figures such as former US president Bill Clinton.

In recent years BRAC has also worked providing sanitation, health camps and child delivery centres to Rohingya refugees living in sprawling camps in Bangladesh.

The NGO helped nearly 150 million people out of poverty according to the World Food Prize, which honoured Abed as its Laureate in 2015. Abed also received a knighthood from Britain in 2010 for his work.

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