The Association for Realisation of Basic Needs, ARBAN, has been operating in Bangladesh since 1984. Its broad objective is to raise awareness of poor and powerless people and to work with them to help them help themselves.
ARBAN believes that the vast majority of Bangladeshis are poor and powerless, not because of the lack of resources in the country but because of a lack of access to the means of productive resources.
ARBAN’s core areas of work are:
1. Education and Vocational Training – for children and adults, including practical group sessions about, eg, the importance of hygiene in the slums, language training and computer skills courses.
2. Micro-credit – small loans are given to help individuals work for themselves, eg, to buy a sewing machine to make clothes to sell.
3. Primary Healthcare and Sanitation – working with Water Aid, ARBAN have provided latrines and water pumps in the slums and set up community groups to maintain them.
4. Housing – ARBAN is building accommodation and helping families save money so that they can try and move out of the slums.
5. Preservation, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – ARBAN worked to ensure that slum dwellers were given the vote so that their voices are heard.
ARBAN is headed by Dr Muhammed Kamal Uddin, one of the founder members of the NGO. Matthew Bullock, Chairman of ARBAN UK, regularly works in Bangladesh so is able to visit Jheelpur and other ARBAN projects to see work done there. Strong links have been formed between the ARBAN UK team and Dr Kamal. All funds raised by ARBAN UK will be transferred directly to the accounts of ARBAN Bangladesh.
ARBAN work with many international charities including Water Aid, War on Want and UNESCO.