Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan has called upon the well-off section of the society to extend support to underprivileged and poor people observing that service to humankind is the best service.
He made the call while handing over two cheques for Tk 2.5 million (25 lakh) each to two humanitarian organisations at a function at Bangladesh Pratidin office in Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital on Tuesday.
Founder of Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) Valerie Ann Taylor and executive director of Banchte Shekha Angela Gomes received the cheques.
The Bashundhara Group chairman donated the money – Tk 5 million – from his personal fund to help the two organisations run their programmes smoothly. He had committed the donation last year when Bangladesh Pratidin accorded reception to the two women.
Highest circulated Bangla newspaper of the country Bangladesh Pratidin organised the Tuesday’s function.
Speaking at the event, Ahmed Akbar Sobhan said Bashundhara Group always stands by the people who struggle with difficulties.
“I’m never interested in any kind of publicity of humanitarian activities. However, we sometimes organise this sort of events to inspire other businesses to come up with similar activities. We are leading the business field. Alongside this (business), we always try to do something for the people,” he said.
The Bashundhara Group chairman said his conglomerate has established a medical college and hospital in Keraniganj, on the outskirt of Dhaka city, where people get treatment form specialist physicians at only Tk 20.
“We [at Bashundhara Ad-din Medical College] offer MBBS course at only Tk 400,000 to reach medical education to students from all classes of the society. This is absolutely a non-profitable initiative from us which has created problem with those who are doing businesses in name of medical education,”
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan said Bashundhara Group feels proud to stand by the two humanitarian organisations led by two inspiring women -- Valerie Ann Taylor and Angela Gomes.
He announced that his Group would offer monthly financial support to the two organisations so that they can run their affairs more smoothly.
CRP is a benevolent organisation working for rehabilitation of the paralysed since 1979 while Banchte Shekha (Learn How to Survive) is a charitable organisation working for improving the socio-economic conditions of women and children in Bangladesh since 1976.
Referring to Bashundhara Group’s running a microcredit programme for poor people, he said credit from the fund is interest-free and the repayment rate is around 99 percent.
The Bashundhara Group chairman divulged his plan to expand the microcredit operation to many new areas.
He also referred to Bashundhara Group’s support to Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh from Myanmar and flood-hit people in the northern region and in Manikganj district.
Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam, Daily Sun Editor Enamul Hoque Chowdhury, and Kaler Kantho Editor Imdadul Haq Milon and Executive Editor Mostofa Kamal were, among others, present on the occasion.
Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam said, “Bashundhara Group always stands by the people who are suffering. CRP and Banchte Shekha are dedicated to service for the people. The Bashundhara Group chairman had promised to support them last year and he has kept his promise.”
Naem Nizam announced that they would constitute Bangladesh Pratidin Foundation to run humanitarian activities.
Kaler Kantho Editor Imdadul Haq Milon said, “The Bashundhara Group chairman has proven that his heart cry in sufferings of people. When a flash flood hit northern part of the country, he asked us to go for relief activities in the affected areas. Today, he has proved again that he is a big patron of humanitarian initiatives.”
Angela Gomes thanked Bashundhara Group for bringing the activities of Banchte Shekha to light.
“We faced opposition and harassment in the early stage of our operation. After the Gulshan Cafe incident, foreign aids have shifted from our country. At this moment, the support of the Bashundhara Group chairman will invigorate our activities.”
CRP founder Valerie Ann Taylor said, “We have been serving people since 1979 in support of people and charitable entities. The aid from the Bashundhara Group chairman will be spent in infrastructure development for the paralysed.”