“In these times of global crisis, Friendship’s mission and values are as relevant and important as ever,” said Friendship founder Runa Khan at a press event. “Today I believe, because of its impact, this work has to be scaled up and replicated with quality and dependability.”

Friendship’s work has been driven by an uncompromising commitment to its code of ethics and core values of integrity, dignity, justice, quality and hope.

Following the press conference, Friendship’s Char Theatre put on a delightful performance of song and drama. Its performances dealt with the social issue of child marriage, dowry and basic rights in char communities.

An exhibition was organised at the same venue, displaying the preservation of the wooden boats of Bengal, handcrafted slow fashion products produced by char women, dignity inspired artwork by Friendship schoolchildren and the award-winning buildings designed by architect Kashef Mahbub Chowdhury.

Runa Khan, Marc Elvinger, Co-Chair of Friendship International, Salahuddin Ahmed, chair of the board of directors of Friendship Bangladesh, Friendship national and international chairs, board members and other senior members of the organisation attended the events.

Friendship began 20 years ago with an innovation: a floating hospital in the shifting river islands (chars) of the Brahmaputra/Jamuna River, where conventional healthcare systems were impossible to operate. Due to the temporal nature of the landscape, Friendship was forced to innovate from the outset. That spirit of innovation resulted in its three-tier healthcare system that reaches the doorsteps of hard-to-reach communities, its nature-based and locally-led climate adaptation techniques, community managed mangrove plantations, and dismantlable, IT-enabled schools taking education where it was once impossible.

Friendship started in 2002 guided by its vision of a world where people—especially the hard-to-reach and unaddressed—have equal opportunities to live with dignity and hope. From Bangladesh, a country facing the most pressing of humanity’s challenges, we develop scalable solutions to strengthen marginalised communities, and empower people to transform their lives and reach their full potential