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Bangladesh social activist Fazle Hasan Abed passes away

DHAKA: 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. “We will honour his legacy with the same resilience, dignity and humility that he has instilled in us,” said a statement by the charity.
Abed trained as an accountant in London but quit his job with oil giant Shell when war broke out in Bangladesh in 1971. He founded BRAC after selling his London flat after the battle for independence ended the following year.
BRAC started helping millions of refugees who arrived back into the new country, and then it diversified into healthcare, micro-finance, agriculture and education.
“BRAC decided to look at poverty as a multi-dimensional syndrome: not just income poverty, but poverty in terms of healthcare, in terms of education, the things that keep poor people poor,” he said in an interview in 2010.
The NGO’s efforts have 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 has been lauded by world figures such as former US president Bill Clinton. The organisation has more than 100,000 local employees worldwide expanded into Africa.
The overseas expansion began in 2001 when Abed was struck by the parallels following the ouster of the Taliban regime with Bangladesh in the early 1970s.
BRAC has also worked on providing sanitation, health camps and child delivery centres to Rohingya refugees living in sprawling camps in Bangladesh.
According to the World Food Prize, the NGO helped nearly 150 million people out of poverty which honoured Abed as its Laureate in 2015. Abed also received a knighthood from Britain in 2010 for his work.
A key element of BRAC’s success in Afghanistan and other developing countries “is that we are from a developing country. We know and understand poverty,” he said after his knighthood was announced in Britain’s New Year honours list.
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