MA 2010/11

Tanha Habib, Project Manager for BRAC UK Vision Bangladesh

I work as the Project Manager for the BRAC UK Vision Bangladesh project. BRAC UK is a fundraising branch of BRAC, which is headquartered in Bangladesh and has a 9 country footprint and was established in 1972; today it is regarded as the world's largest development organisation. Vision Bangladesh is a joint collaboration between BRAC and Sightsavers International and aims to eradicate cataract blindness in Sylhet Division of Bangladesh by 2013 and the whole of Bangladesh by 2020. The project’s agenda by 2013 includes screening 1 million people, treating 800,000 people, conducting 100,000 cataract operations and training 10,000 community health volunteers and 100 ophthalmologists.

I lead on the overall planning and execution of the project starting from fieldwork to making several executive decisions with supervision from the Director of Communications and Development. An integral part of this project is building sustainable relationships with the Diaspora community and having a multi-faceted approach towards fundraising.

As of February 2012, the project is steaming ahead by successfully having completed more than 39,000 operations and is well ahead of target. The project aims to engage the 500,000 British Bangladeshi Diaspora in the UK to raise donations for the project to succeed. A recent success of Vision Bangladesh has been its “1 on the bill” campaign where 300 British Bangladeshi restaurants add a voluntary £1 donation to all bills encouraging restaurant customers to donate to the cause. Due to our campaigning from September 2011 onwards, we are now a household name and have recently been covered positively and extensively by The Guardian.

My course in human rights helped me to crystallise a role where I could blend my practical experience from the past with the theoretical knowledge I gained from the school. Every development activity is based on acquiring a tangible or intangible right of a human being. Restoring sight is a right that Vision Bangladesh ensures.