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May 11, 2018

3 years after earthquake, Nepal is resilient

Sita at a Kishori club. BRAC/Natalia Atkins
Sita at a Kishori club. BRAC/Natalia Atkins

On April 25, 2015, a devastating earthquake ravaged Nepal. BRAC was quick to respond with immediate aid, including food, shelter, and medical support.

Just over three years later, much of the country is still feeling the impacts of the deadly earthquake. But thanks to the resilience of its people, Nepal is on the road to recovery.

Since the aftermath of the earthquake, BRAC has transitioned from immediate aid to long-term development work that provides Nepalese people with the tools to become agents of change in their communities.

One inspiring young woman named Sita is sparking such change.

At 21-years-old, Sita says she doesn’t want to be married yet, which is rare for a young woman in her community. Instead, she says she wants to inspire and motivate other girls to pursue their dreams. That’s why Sita has become a mentor at one of BRAC’s girls empowerment clubs, also known as Kishori clubs.

Each afternoon, Sita welcomes a group of about 20 adolescent girls from her community into her family’s home. The girls sing, dance, play games, and read books. They socialize, share, and support one another.

Sita’s is one of 20 Kishori clubs that BRAC runs in Nepal. Together, the clubs reach over 430 girls that range from age 11 through 21.

But Kishori clubs are not just a space for girls to play and socialize. They are also a center where girls learn crucial life skills. In Kishori clubs, girls learn about the world around them, disaster preparedness, healthy habits, and their rights and responsibilities in their communities.

In addition, the clubs incorporate life skills training on topics like puberty, sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence. In a society where these topics are often considered taboo, Kishori clubs are a safe space for girls to discuss them openly.

Thanks to your donations, Sita, along with hundreds of other adolescent girls in Nepal, have a safe space to learn and grow. Thank you for your continued support!

Sita and friends at her home. BRAC/Natalia Atkins
Sita and friends at her home. BRAC/Natalia Atkins

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May 11, 2018

Monsoon season threatens Rohingya families

Rohingya families arrive in Cox
Rohingya families arrive in Cox's Bazar.

Monsoon season is underway in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where the world’s largest makeshift city is home to over one million forcibly displaced Rohingya people.

On May 1, over 100 shelters in the settlements were damaged in just a single hour of heavy rainfall. Large pools of stagnant water have already begun to form, and these wet conditions are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease.

Storms have battered many regions across Bangladesh for the past three weeks, and the Bangladesh Meteorological Department and the University of Columbia predict that conditions in Cox’s Bazar will continue to worsen – as they already have in the rest of the country.

As a result, thousands of Rohingya families and members of the host community are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, landslides, and disease outbreak over the next three months.

BRAC is working around the clock to relocate families to safer areas, build and repair disaster-resilient shelters, stock up on supplies, and build its capacity to respond to the weather-related shocks that are predicted to accelerate in the upcoming months.

We have prepared a buffer stock of medicinal supplies to serve an initial 5,000 people if outbreaks of diarrheal disease, dysentery, typhoid, or water-borne diseases occur. Oral Rehydration Therapy corners have been set up in each of our primary health care centers, and three Mobile Medical Teams are preparing to deal with any type of medical emergency that may arise.

In addition to preparing for the monsoon season, BRAC also continues to scale up its existing relief efforts. With over 1,600 staff and hundreds more volunteers, BRAC is working to improve lives in all 14 camps and makeshift settlements in the region.

BRAC works with both Rohingya communities and local host communities through programs in primary, child, and maternal health care; education; protection and psychosocial support; water and sanitation; shelter; agriculture; and food and nutrition.

Since we began relief work last year, over 1.3 million patients have received consultations through 60 healthcare centers and satellite clinics, almost 95,000 children have been screened for malnutrition, and nearly 50,000 children are registered in child friendly spaces.

Thanks to your generous contributions, we will continue to scale up our relief efforts and prepare for further shocks as monsoon season approaches. We are grateful for your continued support.

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Mar 26, 2018

Education transforms a Pakistani village

BRAC students are eager to participate in class
BRAC students are eager to participate in class

Deep in the arid plains of the Sindh province of Pakistan sits the tiny village of Massoo Bhutto, comprised of only 50 houses. Although small in size, the village is a community of diverse cultures.

But this small village faces many challenges.

Most families’ livelihoods rely primarily on agriculture and animal rearing, and the arid climate often leads to inconsistent crop yields and income instability.

The village’s severely underdeveloped infrastructure exacerbates the problem. Most rural homes lack access to basic necessities like sanitation, electricity, and medical facilities.

Particularly shocking is the lack of access to education in the community. Even in a country where only half of children reach the last grade of primary school, Massoo Bhutto stands out. In a village of 600 people, there is only one government primary school with limited resources – and it is inaccessible to many children living in rural areas.

Harnessing the diversity of the village, BRAC has established a new primary school that brings together families from across the community and emphasizes the importance of education for their children, especially their daughters.

As the first organization to reach Masso Bhutto with education services, BRAC has trained female teachers with innovative teaching methodologies that prepare students for their transitions into secondary school and beyond.

Already, the new school has sparked renewed hope for Masso Bhutto. Children who were out of school and vulnerable to drug abuse, gambling, and violence now have a safe environment to learn and grow. In a society where men are often valued above women, girls in particular are being empowered with the confidence to succeed. These educated children will have a transformative impact on their community.

The school in Masso Bhutto is only one of nearly 1,500 schools that BRAC has established across Pakistan thus far. BRAC schools reach more than 40,000 Pakistani students, 65 percent girls. Over the next five years, BRAC hopes to increase this number to one million children enrolled in quality primary education programs across the country.

Thanks to generous donors like you, these education initiatives across Pakistan are making a big impact and supporting the country in achieving universal enrollment and gender parity in primary education. Thank you for your continued support.

BRAC primary school students learn through play
BRAC primary school students learn through play

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