Participants in an online discussion suggested that CSR initiatives should come forward to support people with disabilities and ensure their well-being.
The event titled ‘CSR Dialogue: Mymensingh’ was held on October 15, 2022. It was part of a joint initiative of The Daily Star and CSR Window known as “A Better Tomorrow CSR Summit and Awards”. The nationwide program aims to create dialogues for future development and sustainability solutions and recognise corporations for their innovative and world-class CSR initiatives, social projects and programs implemented for sustainable impacts on society.
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Adnan Hossain, Founder and Chairman of IHF (It’s Humanity Foundation), and his team are working on a project named ‘Chakar School’ which provides education facilities to children living in slums and streets. Currently, they are running two pre-primary schools, designed for students aged 4 to 7, in Diabari and Banasree. Around 60 children are now studying and participating in extracurricular activities at these two institutions. After the completion of pre-primary level schooling, Chakar School helps these children to get enrolled in local schools and provide sponsorship support so that they can continue their education. Adnan Hossain sought support from CSR initiatives to expand their program and make their interventions more effective.
Ranjan Das, Executive Director of Desh, talked about a pilot project that supports children with disabilities. Desh has been running five schools where more than 1,000 children with disabilities are studying now. They are also operating 40 clubs in association with Unicef to train young girls in lifesaving techniques. He suggested that CSR initiatives should contribute to the development of persons with disabilities, particularly those who live in the hard-to-reach areas in Mymensingh.
Farah Sharmeen Aolad, Country Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Lead of Coca-Cola Bangladesh, talked about their various CSR initiatives to support the implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh. They have taken initiatives to save water and harvest rainwater in their factories. Coca-Cola Bangladesh is also working on a WASH project through which they provide clean drinking water to disadvantaged local communities.
Md Fahmid- Ul Islam, Human Resources Manager at Apex Footwear Ltd, shared that their company has enacted sustainability in their core business. Last year, they undertook an initiative to promote self-check for breast cancer. They have already distributed 2600 fruit plants with Green Savers to 260 families this year.
Rumana Ahmed, Head of Corporate Affairs at Citibank NA Bangladesh, shared that the Citi Foundation has been providing financial support to UCEP to train people with disabilities and young women to be entrepreneurs. They have also been supporting students at BRAC University for their career development.
Mymensingh City Corporation Mayor Akramul Haque opened that corporate efforts are necessary to ensure the overall development of the country since the government can’t achieve it alone. In the context of Mymensingh, they can contribute to education, skill development training, waste management and prevention of river pollution. Corporate organizations should design their CSR projects with a long-term vision, he added.
The online session was moderated by Ahsan Rony, Co-Founder of CSR Window.