Bandhab is a Danish non-profit organisation which is completely run by volunteers. It was founded in 2006 as a friendship association between Denmark and Bangladesh. The original founders were a group of Danes who had worked on a DANIDA-funded international development project which revolved around the formation of so-called Gono Biddalayas, or 'people's schools'.
The project's aim was to provide adult education to rural communities in Bangladesh based on the Danish folk high school (Folkehøjskole) model, teaching the students valuable life and vocational skills and how to become active and engaged members of society.
Having seen first-hand how the project changed the lives of the students at the Gono Biddalayas, the Danes decided to found their own NGO - Bandhab - to build on the success of the project.
The purpose of Bandhab was - and is - to build and sustain so-called Gono Kendras, or 'people's centres', where primarily women can come together to form self-help groups where they can save up money together, learn new life and vocational skills, campaign against social injustices such as child marriage and gender inequality and ensure their rights are respected.
Each Gono Kendra consists of a group of roughly 20 members. Bandhab has already set up 50 of these Gono Kendras. They are organised under four umbrella organisations, which allows them to work more closely together and leverage their influence, becoming potent forces for change and progress in their local areas.
Among other things, Bandhab has thus far helped over 13,000 beneficiaries - primarily women - achieve greater financial security, learn crucial income-generating skills such as sewing and modern agricultural techniques, and in some communities, even abolish the centuries-old practice of child marriage.
Name of association:
The association's name is BANDHAB, which means "friendship" in Bengali.
Bandhab’s mission is to empower marginalized people and communities in Bangladesh and give them a common voice through democratic education and civic participation.
The vision of Bandhab is to enlighten communities where everyone will have access to equal rights, have power to influence their own lives and feel responsible for actively taking part in the development of a just society.
Purpose of the association:
The association aims, based on the thoughts from Tagore and Grundtvig, to improve public education and an equal society for all, to support an international co-operation between Bangladesh and Denmark and to promote awareness of the two countries' cultural values and living conditions.
The objective will be reached through the establishment of partnership activities and collaborative projects that support sustainable education and cultural activities with emphasis on promoting democratic education, civic participation and respect for the human rights.
The activities are financed through voluntary work and fundraising through private funds, sponsorship, public funding and individual contributions.
Persons and institutions in Denmark who concur with the association's purpose and who will contribute to the association's operations and activities can be admitted as members of the association. Each member - whether it is one person or one organization - only has one vote.
The association's highest authority is the General Assembly, held every year in March or April. The General Assembly should be convened with at least one month's notice by letter or email to members. Proposed resolutions must be in hand of the Board 10 days before the Assembly. Proposals for amendments must be forwarded to the Board not later than February 1 and must be included in the call to the General Assembly. The agenda for the meeting shall contain the following items:
- Election of chairman of the meeting;
- Presentation of the Board's report;
- Presentation of the audited accounts;
- Discussion of the coming year's activities;
- Incoming proposals;
- Setting the membership fee;
- Election of board members and alternates;
- Appointment of auditors;
The association is headed by a board of 5 members elected at the general assembly for a 2-year period. The Board elects the president and treasurer. The Board meets as needed.
The General Assembly elects up to 2 alternates. Alternates shall be elected for one year. Alternates shall attend Board meetings but may vote only through prolonged or permanent absence from board meetings.
To facilitate the Board in its work and to make members active, it is expected that working groups will be created according to members' wishes and interests.The working groups report to the Board.
Extraordinary General Meeting:
There will be called for extraordinary general assemblies if a quarter of the members or at least three board members want it. The General Assembly must be summoned with a month's notice with a reasonable agenda.
Amendments must be in hand of the Board no later than February 1 and must be included in the call of the General Assembly. To be enforced the amendments must be made and passed at two successive General Assemblies.
Dissolution of the association must be decided on a General Assembly with majority vote. The motion must be included in the call for the Assembly. Any means will be allotted to a Bangladeshi NGO with the same purpose as Bandhab.
Adopted at the Annual General Meeting 28 April 2009 and 12 April 2010
Troels Busk, Marianne Kemp, Gunhild Skovmand, Christina Lange, Anna Marie Houe