Human Development Foundation

Human Development Foundation (HDF) a non-goverment organisation in Bangladesh. The Joint Stock Companies of Bangladesh registered it on 29 November 1993 under the company act. From the day of inception HDF has been implementing various pragmatic programmes relating to human resource development and social welfare and thus involved itself for the services of the humanity. HDF takes part in humanitarian initiatives like education, healthcare, skill development, patronisation of cultural activities and development of creativity. Moreover, their development activities include poverty alleviation, training and rehabilitation of physically and mentally disabled persons, publication and research etc.

Background of formation In 1983, the Bangladesh branch of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), an intercontinental bank formed a voluntary organisation here named BCC Foundation to carry out social welfare activities with a portion of its profit. As some of top leading social workers and educationists were involved directly in the activities of the foundation so its working area expanded gradually. One of the most significant projects of BCC Foundation was Talent Assistance Scheme (TAS). But when the activities of BCCI winded up in Bangladesh in 1991, the project suffered a set back as BCC Foundation faced a serious fund crisis. Many poor meritorious students, studying in different educational institutions under TAS, were about to be dropped out from there due to dearth of money. Similarly a large number people, basically beneficiaries of humanitarian services of BCC Foundation also had to suffer a fear of deprivation.

In this juncture, founder-chairman of BCC Foundation Alamgir MA Kabir (Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government) and eminent scientist Dr Abdullah Al-muti Sharfuddin started contracting with the top decision-makers of the government to save the foundation. Consequently HDF was retrieved with the active co-operation and support of a few retired government high officials, educationists and social leaders to continue the programmes of BCC Foundation. HDF became active fully in July 1994 after getting governments financial allocation from the Ministry of Finance.

Executive body A general council and an executive council run all activities of the foundation. The general council is comprised of 22 members. Maximum eleven members selected from the general council for a period of two years constitute the executive committee. There are a few committees and sub-committees assist to generate the activities of HDF. Head and members of these committees like TAS Committee, Projects Appraisal Committee, Pay and Services committee and Purchase Committee are elected from the members of general and executive council. The decisions taking by these committees need final approval of the executive council.

Activities Social services provided by HDF are divided into two categories. The first category includes HDF's exclusive programmes and the second category is partnership porogrammes or joint venture initiatives. Talent Assistance Scheme (TAS) and Rural School Library Development project are major exclusive initiative of HDF. Joint venture initiatives are run with the development partners selected earlier. Regarding the selection of partnership programmes HDF generally considers the merit points of a particular scheme. The degree of benefits to be derived from the scheme for deprived section and the society as a whole gets priority in the selection criteria. For example, the popularisation programme of Unnato Chula (Advanced oven) invented by bcsir, the school-based nursery project for creating awareness about environment among students, the project to support the abandoned old parents, Importance and maintenance of the solar power project, the rehabilitation programme of visually, mentally and physically disabled persons, Pre-primary children education programme, literacy programme for the downtrodden position to bring back them in the mainstream society and the gender mainstreaming project for strengthening the role of women in family and society through their economic capacity building have immense socio-economic impact. So Human Development Foundation is implementing those projects alongwith other partners through voluntary organisations. It also executes various other schemes including subject-based vocational learning project.

Talent Assistance Scheme (TAS) is the outstanding social welfare programme of HDF. It has been initiated to extend support to the financially insolvent meritorious students so that they could be established in the society after completing their respective courses. Under this scheme, interest free study loan is provided to the poor students having good results for continuation their graduation and to some extent post-graduation study. Students of rural area are given preference for setting loan, which has to be paid by easy installments after completing the study. This scheme was launched in 1985. HDF also provides each of them an annual non-refundable cash grant for procuring books, papers and other education materials. So far 898 meritorious but financially challenged students have been provided study loan and many of them already been established in life.

Rural School Library Development Project was introduced in 1986 by BCC Foundation to grow reading habit of books out of school syllabus among students. The project was designed to set up a rich library in every school with a view to nurturing the latent talent of rural school-goers. The project is being continued by HDF expanding its scope. HDF sends new books to the libraries set up in secondary schools regularly. Moreover the teachers-in-charge of library are imparted basic training on librarianship. Each year, the project includes one hundred new rural schools and each school library is given support for a period of five years. New entrants replace the schools, which were already taken library assistance for consecutive five years. After the launchings of the project in 1986, was provided library support to about 352 schools.

The fund of HDF, provided by the government is kept as fixed deposit in different banks and financial institutions and programmes are run by the profit of its deposit. [Tasneem Hasan Hai]