“To me, sustainability is the key here, I believe just donating money or distributing food relief is not the true CSR. CSR should have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on society.” – Chowdhury Kamruzzaman, Director of Marketing, PRAN-RFL Group
What motivated you to establish PRAN-RFL Public School, and how are you planning to take this programme into the next decade?
PRAN-RFL Public School was established with a vision of providing quality education to children of our employees and the local communities. There are two schools established in 2014, situated at the same location of our factories, in Ghorashal and Habiganj. To date, 1485 students have enrolled in these schools and 85 employees earn their livelihoods as staff members. The school provides over BDT 10 million per month as scholarships, with most students receiving subsidised or full tuition fee waivers from class one to SSC.
The teachers of the schools are also trained for 30 days every year to keep them up to date with the curriculum. Along with the academics, the schools also provide the students and communities with free or subsidised coaching, free access to the library, access to all cultural and social events, and computer labs.
On top of this, we also have free coaching centres for spoken English, SSC and school exam preparations, with a class size of 30. To date, we have provided over 5,650 free classes. We also work with other schools in the areas to help develop their standard of education. We do so, by providing them training and educational materials. In the future, we would like to continue funding these schools and want to introduce the opportunity of higher studies, such HSC and maybe even the option of pursuing a tertiary level of education.
What other milestones have you achieved through CSR activities in the different areas that PRAN-RFL Group is working?
We also work on community development in these areas through the development of educational and health institutes. In these 23 areas, PRAN-RFL has built hospitals for the local people. Employing around 130,000 employees, these hospitals serve their local communities. Sun Health Care Foundation and Amjad Khan Chowdhury Memorial Hospital are two of our most notable hospitals.
In Ghorashal, we established a nursing institute titled Amjad Khan Chowdhury Nursing College and our aim is to produce nurses and midwives through this institute. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we launched the “Ahar Hobe Sobar Ghore” campaign under the “Pashe Asi Bangladesh” initiative. In this campaign, we established a toll-free number to get emergency food support. Moreover, throughout the pandemic, the group has worked with frontline workers. The group has donated safety gear, sanitiser, and drinking water to various medical institutes and hospitals. Additionally, five booths for Covid-19 sample collection were also funded by the PRAN-RFL. We also managed to provide 11,000 families with relief during the lockdown.
What are your thoughts on the future of CSR in Bangladesh?
To me, sustainability is the key here, I believe that just donating money or distributing food relief is not true CSR. Rather, CSR should have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on society. Furthermore, the future of CSR appears even brighter when organisations start to collaborate. All we have to do now, is take the necessary steps to guarantee that our CSR programmes are long-term and that the communities continue to benefit from them.