‘Friendship’, a social purpose organisation, on Friday celebrated 20 years of its founding. On the occasion the authorities of the organisation held a ‘press meet’ programme at a hotel in the city.
Following the press conference, a special presentation of Friendship’s Char Theatre Stage Show was performed, similar to the plays they do in the chars about social issues like child marriage, dowry, basic rights, etc.
Along with these events, a special exhibition was organised at the same venue, where the wooden boats of Bengal, handcrafted slow fashion products produced by char women, and dignity inspired artwork by Friendship school children and the award-winning buildings designed by architect Kashef Mahbub Chowdhury were displayed.
Runa Khan, founder of Friendship; Marc Elvinger, co-chair of Friendship International; Salahuddin Ahmed, chair of board of Friendship Bangladesh; and Friendship national and international chairs, board members and other senior members of the organisation attended the events.
Friendship started operations with floating hospitals that offer essential primary and secondary healthcare to remote riverine areas. These hospitals were further supplemented by satellite clinics, which are themselves supported by community medic-aides utilizing a proprietary mHealth app.
Earlier this year, Friendship’s land hospital in Shyamnagar, Satkhira, won the “best new building in the world 2021” prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for its unique and eco-friendly design.
Friendship also operates 80 legal information booths in as many chars, with trained paralegals that aid 300,000 people with their legal issues, ensuring access to legal services, and raising awareness about their rights, protections and civic duties as per the constitution of Bangladesh.
Runa Khan said, “People have needs, very essential needs, and that is why we have to succeed. How we succeed, is just a tool. Succeed either this way or that, the main purpose is to see to the needs of the people, no matter how we achieve that.
The places we started working in, were the hardest to reach in Bangladesh. How do we know this? Because when we started, there was nobody else there.”