BRAC USA

Our mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Our interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable men and women to realize their potential.
Mar 20, 2012

Fizora: Growing stronger every day

Like too many girls in rural Bangladesh, Fizora was married when she was only 16 years old.

Four years later, she has two young children and a husband who is handicapped and unable to work. Her family was so poor that Fizora would regularly go without food so her husband and children could eat. 

Fizora joined the local BRAC girls club where, for the first time in her life, she got to interact with girls her own age as they learned valuable life skills. She also received financial literacy training as well as livelihood training on vegetable cultivation. 

Fizora used the skills she learned through BRAC to start a vegetable garden growing spinach and okra. Within a few months, she was able to sell her vegetables for a profit at the local market. She used the profits to feed her family and invest in additional seedlings and materials to grow her garden. She also started a savings account so she can afford to send her children to school once they're old enough.

Without your support, Fizora's life could have gone in a very different direction. What's more, all the benefit she's realizing from her participation in the girls club and her new livelihood is spread to her husband and two young children. 

By investing in a girl, you can benefit everyone around her. This is the Girl Effect.

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Mar 13, 2012

A Birth Story in a Bangladesh Slum

In lieu of a report, I thought I would share with you the story of a woman and a baby that you helped to save by supporting BRAC's Healthcare for Motherns and Children project in Bangladesh. This story and a photo essay was also posted on the Million Moms Challenge blog.

In late 2011, Philadelphia-based freelance photographer Sarah Bones, part of the collective Photographers for Hope, went to Bangladesh to photograph the urban delivery centers or “birthing huts” opened by BRAC, a global development organization active in 10 countries, in the crowded slums of the country's capital, Dhaka. She witnessed, and captured on film, a dramatic scene as one 17-year-old Fazila, endured a difficult labor – first in the birthing hut, later on the floor of a stranger's hut.
  
These birthing huts normally provide access to a safe and hygienic place for women to give birth as an alternatives to home delivery, helped by other local women with a small amount of proper training. When complications occur, the local health workers are able, in most cases, to get qualified help.
 
Among other interventions to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty in areas like education, healthcare and microfinance, BRAC trains an army of over 80,000 women in the villages and slums of Bangladesh to act as “community health workers” to offer affordable care to their neighbors. BRAC's maternal health program has been massively successful in reducing the number of home births: in urban areas where it operates the birthing huts, the portion of home births drop from 86 percent to 25 percent between 2007 and 2009.
 
Due in part to innovations such as these, Bangladesh has seen maternal and infant mortality drop by one quarter since 1972.

Click here to see the photo essay by Sarah Bones.

Links:

Feb 14, 2012

From piloting to scaling up

Like so many of our club members, BRAC's Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescent Girls (ELA) program in Tanzania has experienced a growth spurt! 

With support from the Nike Foundation, Unicef, and you, we've managed to grow the program to 180 ELA clubs. That means:

  • We have more than 7,000 girls club members, who've all gotten life skills training on important topics ranging from reproductive health to leadership skills.
  • More than 1,200 girls have taken livelihood and financial literacy training courses and taken out microfinance loans to start their own businesses.
  • We've provided more than $280,000 in micro-loans to our club members, with an average loan size of $142.

Thank you for helping us grow!

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