Kumudini Welfare Trust

Kumudini Welfare Trust is one of the biggest and oldest welfare organisation in Bangladesh. It was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Shaheed Ranadaprasad shaha in 1947 in memory of his mother Kumudini. Kumudini Welfare Trust has been providing health care and education, especially to the depressed classes ever since its foundation in 1947. The registered name of the Trust is Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Limited. Kumudini was the name of the mother of Rai Bahadur Ranada Prasad Shaha. He lost his mother at the age of seven. Kumudini died of tetanus infection without treatment. Her family was too poor to afford any treatment. Poverty barred Ranada from taking any formal education beyond the primary level. But Ranadaprasad Shaha was gifted and determined enough to develop his outlook and personality to make fortune through various businesses during the inter-war period of 1919 and 1945. But fortune did not lead him to forget his past distress. He decided to serve the humanity by establishing a permanent charitable organisation. He placed all his companies and businesses in a 'Trust' by the name of Kumudini Welfare Trust in 1947 with a view to using part of its incomes for public welfare.

From 1971 to 1999, the Kumudini Welfare Trust was managed by RP Shaha's daughter, Joya Pati. Shaha's eldest daughter, Bijoya, also played an important role in the running of bharateswari homes, a girl's school. Bringing together women widowed or left destitute by the ravages of the war, Joya Pati, later assisted by her sister-in-law Srimati, started working towards building Kumudini Handicrafts soon after the war, supporting traditional cottage industries, supplying handicrafts both at home and abroad. Since 1984, Kumudini has also had a Trade Training School for young boys from poor families who take training in, among other things, electrical work, welding, plumbing, carpentry, etc. Joya Pati also added to Kumudini's income-generating activities, by establishing a pharmaceutical company and later a garments business, which her nephew, Rajiv Prasad Shaha, later expanded. A Board of Directors manages the Kumudini Welfare Trust.

From January, 2000 Rajiv Prashad Shaha (grandson of RP Shaha) has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Kumudini Welfare Trust of Bengal (BD) Limited. The Trust charter (the Trust is registered under the Companies Act of 1913) clearly stipulates that the main aim of the Trust businesses would be to bear the cost of Hospital and Homes in Mirzapur and other such public welfare programs undertaken by the Trust. The Trust shall not be used for personal profit or gains. Each Director's power and authority are limited and regulated by the Trust rules and guidelines on public welfare and humanitarian activities. Each of the Trust's business branch has separate its corporate identity and at the same time they are subject to the Trust's control. Management of each of the business endeavors to earn as much legitimate profit as possible so that more and more money can be spent on the Trust's public welfare and humanitarian activities. As a result, all of the businesses run by the Kumudini Trust are highly competitive as well as profitable. Operationally, the principal places for the offices, business and activities of the Trust are located in Mirzapur, Tangail, Narayanganj and Dhaka.

The Trust has 82 acres of land in Narayanganj and nearby Sitalakhya river. The principal welfare ventures of the Kumudini Welfare Trust are: Kumudini Hospital (Mirzapur), Nursing School, Women's Medical College, Village Outreach Program, Bharateswari Homes, Trade training School, Kumudini Handicrafts, and so on. Other charitable sectors include Environmental Participation (purifying the waste water plant) and Green Gold Project (an agricultural project). [Nasrin Akhter]