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Man on a mission

  • Published at 03:51 pm November 22nd, 2018
WT_Nov 22, 2018
Photos: Courtesy

For the first time, Microsoft has recognized a Bangladeshi for the Inspired Leader award, 2018, an award presented to individuals who have been able to create great impact. On October 18, Tazin Shadid was awarded the prestigious Microsoft Alumni Network 2018 Inspired Leader award with the ceremony taking place at Microsoft Headquarters, USA.

Tazin Shadid is the Chief Executive Officer of Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation which is a social enterprise specializing in healthcare and youth development. As of January 2018, Spreeha has empowered 1, 38, 178 lives, 65,119 people received healthcare, 3,669 children were educated, 1,327 youth were trained, and 68,033 individuals received counselling.

Tazin was still at Microsoft when he started Spreeha in 2011. Initially, he focused on breaking the cycle of poverty in his country, Bangladesh. As he specializes in human centric design thinking, and spent nearly a decade developing technology that met people’s needs at Microsoft, he took the same approach while building Spreeha, making his way into slum dwellings to identify deep-seated problems and analyzing them to build effective solutions. 

Spreeha is a living organization that has evolved and grown with time. Spreeha initially began with a mobile health clinic operated by a single doctor and a small amount of medicine. This version of Spreeha ran for two years with 10,000 and 20,000 people supported in two regions respectively. But Tazin was determined to reach larger numbers and realized that the only way he would be able to do so was by having his entire focus on developing Spreeha. In 2015 he made the decision to move back to Bangladesh leaving behind his 10-year career at Microsoft.

After his return, Tazin developed a new model through principles of design thinking that focused on broadening Spreeha’s programs to include health care, education and skills training. The objective was to lift entire communities out of poverty in a holistic approach. The second model successfully caters to the underprivileged community at Rayer Bazar, still offering its services to roughly 80,000 families to this day. 

Tazin believed that in order to achieve Spreeha’s mission, Spreeha needed to be a self-sustaining enterprise. Starting in 2017, Spreeha began social ventures that included the Sneho Diagnostic Center to provide affordable healthcare to urban residents; Amar Lab, which travels to patients to perform medical diagnostic services, Progga Club, which is a creative leadership program to empower girls; and Udoy which provides health facilities for factories and their workers. 

Tazin’s work has been recognized by a number of platforms and he is also a Puget Sound Business Journal 2015 40 Under 40 winner.