Keeping the flame alive | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:15 AM, July 02, 2020

Keeping the flame alive

Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain’s legacy carried forward by foundation

His bravery epitomised what a human being should demonstrate at a grim moment of truth.

Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, at the young age of 20, stood up during the bloody militant attack at Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, 2016 to save his friends.

He was given choice to walk free from the eatery after he recited verses from the Holy Quran as per demand from terrorists, but refused to abandon his friends, embracing death as a hero.

His friends -- Abinta Kabir and Indian citizen Tarishi Jain -- were also killed along with 19 others, mostly foreigners, during the gruesome incident.

What Faraaz left behind is legacy and inspiration for generations.

To uphold his legacy, his family established the Faraaz Hossain Foundation, initiatives undertaken by which reflect Faraaz's dreams.

During the trying time of the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation has come forward to stand beside people in hardship, especially lower-middle income groups.

With support from Jaago Foundation, Faraaz Hossain Foundation has already reached to over 6,000 people with daily essentials including rice, flour, lentils, and edible oil.

Besides, the foundation supplied medical equipment like oxygen concentrators to rural areas.

Faraaz Hossain Foundation, along with Jaago Foundation, launched a fellowship programme to uphold Faraaz's legacy. Under the programme, 20 youths have been selected, who will be trained with leadership skills and given the chance for internship at different companies under Transcom Group, so they can learn corporate ethics and behaviourism.

Over the past few years, Faraaz Hossain Foundation, with support from US-based Distressed Children and Infants International, has been arranging eye camps, which provided treatment to more than 8,000 people all across the country.

At one such eye camp in Rajshahi in January, the foundation provided treatment including check-up and cataract surgeries to some 900 people.

Pharmaceutical giant Eskayef has named its new factory building in Tongi "Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain Bhaban".

Faraaz Hossain Foundation also provided various kinds of support to more than 20,000 Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar.

Faraaz, son of Simeen Hossain and Muhammad Waquer bin Hossain, was a student of Economics at Emory University in Atlanta, US. Before going to the US, he studied at Sir John Wilson School and American International School in Dhaka.

Faraaz was honoured with a place in the Garden of the Righteous at the Italian embassy in the Tunisian capital Tunis. Milan-based non-profit organisation Garden of the Righteous Worldwide (GARIWO), with help from the Italian foreign ministry, took the initiative to set up the first Garden of the Righteous in an Arab country on July 15, 2016.

It hosts trees and memorial stones dedicated to five righteous Arab and non-Arab Muslims, one of whom is Faraaz.

The tree dedicated to Faraaz bears the inscription: "In Dhaka, he chose not to leave his friends and was murdered by the terrorists."

In March 2018, students of Rummo High School in Benevento of Italy planted a tree honouring Faraaz.

He was awarded Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice in November 2016. Faraaz's mother Simeen and elder brother Zaraif Ayaat Hossain received the award in Mumbai.

Some of the past recipients of the award are Médecins Sans Frontières, the Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai, Mahathir Mohammad and Baroness Caroline Cox.

In recognition of his courageous act, PepsiCo Global launched the annual Faraaz Hossain Courage Award in 2016, setting up a fund of $200,000. The money would allow a $10,000 prize to be awarded every year for the next 20 years.

The purpose of the award is to recognise individuals for their acts of exceptional courage and empathy, the very spirit Faraaz showed.

Faraaz was recognised as a graduate by Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Apart from this, the university also introduced the Faraaz Hossain Core Value Award, the first of which went to Gurbani Singh, a student of the university.

Emory University also established "Hossain-Kabir Room" at its Oxford College campus in memory of Faraaz Hossain and Abinta Kabir.

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