By Sanjay Agarwal, an EO Winnipeg member, and the founder and president of Orientworks, Inc.
My first visit to Bangladesh was in 2002, and I had no illusions about this country. I expected poverty and there was plenty of it. However, only a few people truly know about Bangladesh’s developmental surprise in the last decade. For example, Bangladesh is one of the few developing countries that is on target for achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. The progress in education, health and gender equity, and the fast improvement in basic living conditions, is also partly because of the success of the labour-intensive, export-based garments industry.
Bangladesh is often portrayed by the media as having poor labour and working conditions. It is an irony that the world knows where the children in Bangladesh should not work, but rarely does the world offer a solution about what the children of Bangladesh should be doing. Tragedies sell while the good stories are often ignored. The story of Jaago is one good story. I heard about Korvi Rakshand, Jaago’s founder, from a friend in Dhaka during my visit in November. I requested a meeting, and he showed up in our office the next day. We spent some time talking about his work and the vision he had for the company. I was very impressed, and we decided to support the foundation.