• Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020
  • Last Update : 10:14 pm

Sir Abed gets Yidan Prize

  • Published at 11:26 pm January 23rd, 2020
web-brac Sir Fazle Hasan Abed
File photo of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Fazle Hasan’s children accepted the prize on his behalf

Dr Charles Chen Yidan, founder of the Yidan Prize, has handed over the prestigious Yidan Prize to the children of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed posthumously for his ground-breaking work on education development.

Tamara Abed and Shameran Abed, children of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, accepted the award on his behalf at the Brac head office in Dhaka on Thursday. 

Dr Yidan presented the gold medal of the award to Tamara Abed, Sir Abed’s daughter, also the managing director of Brac Enterprises, and chairperson of the board of trustees of Brac University.

The certificate of the award was presented to Shameran Abed, his son, also the senior director of Brac Microfinance and Ultra Poor Graduation Program, at a ceremony organized on this occasion.

As a Yidan Prize Laureate, Sir Fazle received a gold medal, a certificate and HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million), half of which is a cash prize and the other half a project fund. 

On September 19, 2019, Sir Fazle was awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Development, which is the largest international prize in the field of education, for his ground-breaking work on education.

During a visit to Sir Fazle in October 2019, the Yidan Prize Foundation learned directly from this iconic figure of international development about his visionary approach and pivotal role in changing the course of education in Bangladesh.

After Fazle’s death on 20 December 2019, Dr Charles Chen Yidan decided to visit Dhaka to pay his respect, and present the award to his family in person. 

He also visited a Brac school in the Korail slum in Banani and an early childhood development (ECD) centre - Play Lab in Banasree during his two-day visit to Dhaka.  

“Sir Fazle lived a life of service with true compassion, courage and conviction. He inspired everyone around him to choose optimism over despair, and to believe in the potential of the human spirit. I believe that Sir Fazle will continue to be a source of inspiration to the world.

The hundreds of millions of lives he transformed, especially those from the most vulnerable and poorest communities, will remember him as the spark of hope. 

The Yidan Prize Foundation will continue to work closely with Brac to further scale up impactful educational programs in Asia, Africa and beyond. Together, we can continue to help young, marginalized children find joy in their learning, and those deprived of resources live happy and productive lives,” Dr Charles Chen Yidan said at the award ceremony

Shameran Abed read out the acceptance speech Sir Fazle drafted last year after the announcement of the prize. 

“I would like to express my gratitude for the recognition bestowed upon both Brac and me. The very generous Yidan Prize funding will allow us to expand our education activities further. I believe that education is the greatest equalizer. I envision a world where even the poorest among us have the opportunity to lead lives of purpose and dignity. I humbly request everyone to play their part in making this vision a reality,” Sir Fazle wrote in the speech. 

“We are most honoured to receive the Yidan Prize on behalf of our father,” said Tamara Abed. “We are committed to carry forward his legacy,” she added.

Sir Fazle always viewed education as a crucial catalyst for change. He firmly believed that it is about more than just schools and books. Play-based joyful learning is a cornerstone of Brac’s approach. Brac has set up more than 1,400 play-based early childhood development centres across Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda, where close to 40,000 children aged 1 to 5 years are presently enrolled. In these centres pre-school children have access to age-appropriate play materials, a play-based curriculum, and play spaces that ensure their holistic development. 

“Addressing the needs of children in the most disadvantaged communities has always been a core priority for Brac. The Yidan prize will support us in scaling up our play-based early childhood development solutions in Uganda and Tanzania and develop a new model of play-based childcare in Bangladesh” Mr Asif Saleh, executive director of Brac, commented. 

The Yidan Prize project funding (approximately US$2 million) will be invested by Brac in research, innovation and scaling up high-impact solutions related to early childhood development in the next three years. Brac will also use part of the project fund to pilot a social enterprise of play-based childcare model in Bangladesh.

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