BRAC founded

Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) begins relief and rehabilitation work in Sulla, northeastern Bangladesh.


Shift from relief to development, start of microfinance and focus on women

Long-term development commences alongside relief operations, signaling the beginning of a dual development and humanitarian mandate. First microloans provided, starting BRAC’s work in financial inclusion. BRAC renamed Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. When supporting people affected by famine and flood, Abed bhai finds a village where all the men had left, and women were supporting each other–the start of the focus on women as the managers of development.


A learning organisation

Research and evaluation division established. Monitoring, reporting and learning find a central role in all BRAC’s work.


Holistic support and sericulture

Manikganj integrated project starts, the first BRAC project that provides multi-faceted support to people using a holistic approach. Sericulture programme starts, generating employment for women in vulnerable situations. BRAC Sericulture becomes one of BRAC’s biggest social enterprises, continuing traditional silkmaking practices.


Community-driven approach

People in communities recruited to make change in their own communities, and get services to doorsteps at the last mile. First village organisations mobilised.


Aarong, and the first training and resource centre

Aarong launches, to create livelihood opportunities for women in rural areas through craft, and ensure they are paid for their creations. Aarong later becomes country’s leading lifestyle brand, expanding its footprint internationally. First training and resource centre established; BRAC would need high quality managers in order to ensure quality work up to the last mile, and these centres would deliver that. As investment in training expands, these centres become learning centres.


Tackling diarrhoea

Oral therapy extension programme launched, BRAC’s first nationwide door-to-door campaign. The success of the programme gave Abed bhai the confidence that behaviour could be changed through mass awareness. He knew BRAC could manage scale. This turning point could be termed the real birth of BRAC. The programme took a decade, virtually eliminated diarrhoea as a childhood killer and laid the foundation for BRAC’s work in health.


Healthy chickens

Poultry vaccination programme initiated, with the realisation that raising chickens could be a viable livelihood option at the household level for women in rural areas. Results in mass employment over the next 30 years, through creation of multiple social enterprises: BRAC Chicken, BRAC Poultry and BRAC Feed Mill.


A second chance school

Non-formal primary education programme starts, taking schools to the last mile. This heralds the beginning of BRAC’s work in education, which has now graduated 15 million students across Asia and Africa.


Human rights, child survival and microfinance plus

Rural development programme formed; beginning of merging awareness building with economic activities. Child survival programme commences, launching work in infant and maternal mortality, which resulted in child-focused initiatives such as mass-scale immunisation, family planning and delivery centres. Focus turns to rights, particularly land rights for women in rural areas, and the human rights and legal services programme is introduced, which becomes the world’s largest NGO-led legal aid programme.


Reading centres for young people

Adolescent reading centres open, the first step in focusing on young people.


Education goes to Africa

Non-formal primary education programme model replicated in Africa, the first formal replication of a BRAC programme outside Bangladesh.


Adult learning

Adult literacy centres open, to bridge the gap for every person, particularly women in rural areas, who did not get the chance to go to school. Centres focus on reproductive health, skills, basic education and rights.


Expansion into cities

Development work starts in urban areas, and the longer former name of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee is dropped.


A dairy collective, and indigenous communities

Dairy and Food Project launches, marking the beginning of BRAC Diary. The social enterprise grows to become Bangladesh’s third largest milk processor, supporting 45,000 dairy farmers across Bangladesh. Chittagong Hill Tracts development programme launched, marking the start of work with indigenous communities.


First limb and brace fitting centre opens BRAC

Limb and brace fitting centre opens to support people with physical disabilities.


A university and a bank

BRAC University established to build conscious, empathetic and capable leaders. BRAC Bank was established to provide banking solutions to the ‘unbanked’ Small and Medium Entrepreneurs.


Poverty graduation and BRAC goes international

Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction - Targeting the Ultra Poor Programme launched, which becomes the Ultra-Poor Graduation programme and supports over 2 million people out of poverty. Development work commences in Afghanistan.


University expansion and disaster response in Sri Lanka

BRAC University establishes the James P Grant School of Public Health and the Institute of Educational Development, encouraging research into public health and education (particularly early childhood development). BRAC responds to the Asian Tsunami, marking its first international humanitarian response and rights.


Expansion in Africa, London, Water and sanitation and Migration

Development programmes in Tanzania and Uganda commence. BRAC UK established to mobilise resources. Work in water, sanitation and hygiene started, which was to play a key role in eliminating open defecation in Bangladesh. Work in safe labour migration started, which was to become an important strategic area of operations.


Growing international presence

Microfinance programmes start in Pakistan, Tanzania and South Sudan. BRAC USA established to mobilise resources.


Climate action and expansion in west Africa

Disaster management and climate change programme launched. Operations start in Sierra Leone and Liberia.


Rural libraries, Haiti response and BRAC International Holdings B.V.

Over 5,500 volunteer-run community learning centres start in secondary schools in rural areas in Bangladesh. This is supported by mobile libraries in hard-to-reach areas, to make literature accessible for all. BRAC goes to Haiti to respond to the deadly earthquake. BRAC International Holdings B.V. is established.


Learning on the airwaves and on the water, and a strategic agreement

Radio Pollikontho launches in rural Bangladesh, broadcasting vital information in Sylheti dialect. The community radio is run entirely by adolescents and goes on to win several global awards. Boat schools are introduced, to bring primary education to children living in seasonally submerged areas, such as wetlands. The Strategic Partnership Agreement is signed with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, using international development goals as a framework to deliver long-term development impact.


South-east Asia

Operations start in the Philippines


#1 ranking, Myanmar, and Graduation goes global

Ranked #1 NGO for the first time in the Global Journal’s list of the 100 best NGOs. Microfinance activities begin in Myanmar. First grant received to provide technical assistance and advocacy support on integration of Graduation outside of Bangladesh.


Playful learning and emergency response in Nepal

Play Labs begin, an important development in BRAC’s work in early childhood development, which went on to evolve into Humanitarian Play Labs for children in displaced and refugee situations. Emergency relief initiated in Nepal after earthquake.


Rohingya crisis

BRAC becomes one of the leading responders to the Rohingya crisis in Cox’s Bazar, launching humanitarian support at scale. Humanitarian Play Labs start.


Passing of the founder

BRAC's Founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, passes away.


Pandemic response

BRAC is a leading responder in the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.


Vaccination drive and tackling financial crisis

BRAC supports the Bangladeshi government in a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine drive, opens crowdsourcing channels to mitigate the impending financial crisis caused by the pandemics.


BRAC Reaches 50

After half a century of igniting hope, we aim to carry this torch onward and finding new ways to create a world free of discrimination. Thank you for being a part of this journey.