Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
He returned to the UK during the 1971 Bangladesh war of independence from Pakistan where he lobbied and raised funds for his country’s struggle. After the conflict he found the newly born country in ruins. It was then that, using his own savings, he established the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and launched a lifelong campaign to improve lives by educating the rural poor, now reaching nearly 140 million people in nine countries.
Over more than 40 years BRAC has become one of the largest non-government providers of education in the world and has contributed directly to the education of more than 10 million students at a variety of levels. BRAC concentrates on bringing education to children and young people who are not reached by the traditional education system.
Currently, around 750,000 children – 70 per cent of them girls – are enrolled in 25,000 BRAC primary schools in Bangladesh. Pass rates are significantly higher than in the formal primary schools system and virtually all go on to learn in secondary schools. BRAC has expanded its work to pre-primary education, post-primary and continuing education, and has established an adolescent development center for girls.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was the first Laureate of the WISE Prize for Education in 2011.