Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Company

In the early '70s, soon after the birth of Bangladesh, NGOs like BRAC were perceived as bulwarks against communism, according to a top NGO insider. That was when western governments began to channel money to NGOs.

Forward to 9/11.

Today, NGOs serve a different purpose: purchasing the allegiance of the elite against Islam.

This explains the Conrad H. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to BRAC.

And the tissue of disinformation printed in the page from The Economist (25 October 2008, p. 64).

Oral rehydration? The credit for that usually goes to the ICCDR,B – the international centre for cholera and diarrhoeal research. The kudos should go, if to anyone, then to the Institute for Public Health. Actually, according to a well-informed doctor, the remedy is an indigenous one that has been used for centuries.

Control of tuberculosis and malaria?

Tuberculosis has been on the rise. and not only in Bangladesh. Surely there is a limit to mendacity!

Malaria? Every time I go down to the Chittagong Hill Tracts, doctors urge me to start a course of chloroquine – even though the drug no longer works. I once tried to buy artemisinin, and I had to search the drugstores in Dhaka high and low – and when I found a few doses, the astronomical price put me off against buying any prophylactic.

I hoped to have better luck in the Hill Tracts. But I couldn't find a single store selling artemisinin (in fact, I couldn't find a single store or individual who knew what artemisinin was!). This is a familiar story throughout the malarial world. Surely there are limits to mendacity!

A university? Now we're talking. BRAC university is for the ultra-rich. If I had kids, I wouldn't have been able to afford the exorbitant fees charged by BRAC university. The ad above leads you to believe that the university is for the indigent: it is for the children of the extremely well-heeled.

Fees structure of BRAC University:

Fee Structure

Non-refundable Fees
Admission Fee Tk. 12,000 (one time)
Computer Lab Fee Tk. 1,000 per semester
Student Activity Fee Tk. 500 per semester
Library Fee Tk. 500 per semester

Tuition Fee per Credit*

BSc in Computer Science
BSc in Computer Science and Engineering
BSc in Electronics and Communication Engineering
BSS in Economics
BA in English
LL.B (Hons)
BSc in Physics
BS in Mathematics

Tk. 4,400/-

- Studio Courses
- Lecture Courses

Tk. 5,500/-
Tk. 4,400/-

*subject to enhancement with a notice before a semester

Oddly enough, the ad says nothing about BRAC bank – an institution serving the mega-rich of Bangladesh.

BRAC is not a humanitarian institute – it is a business conglomerate.

It is like a giant pig with many teats, and everyone who is favoured has his/her lips to the teats. Or imagine a giant trough where the initiated come to guzzle – with donors pouring the fodder at both ends.

This silences criticism of BRAC.

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