Mastul Foundation was established in 2013 by Kazi Reaz Rahman, a student of International Relations from University of Dhaka. With an objective to provide basic literacy and ethical knowledge, the organisation gathered volunteers who can guide underprivileged children. “I was engaged in many voluntary activities during my school days. I was an outgoing young boy and always believed in helping others as much as I can,” explains Reaz. “I also encouraged my friends to engage in social work. I started with a blood donation campaign in 2013 and then started working for underprivileged children.”
Mastul Foundation is a government registered organisation which works to ensure basic rights for underprivileged people in Bangladesh. Other than Dhaka, they are active in 5 divisions and 14 districts of the country.
The organisation has 8,700 registered young volunteers across Bangladesh. There are seven members in their Board of Trustees. They are: Ferdous Wahid (Chairman), Lamisa Kabir (Vice Chairman), Saiful Islam (Treasurer), Mohsena Akter, Mahmuda Khanam and Shahana Akter (Executive Members).
Sponsor A Child is their lead project through which they connect children with their donor parents. Reaz informs that every month a sponsor donates BDT 1,000 to a child and takes the responsibility of their education. Through the project, the children and their sponsor parents build strong connections with one another. The children often send letters to and receive gifts from their sponsor parents and they also spend quality time with their sponsor parents. Mastul Foundation’s other noteworthy projects are Children’s Skill Development, Gifts for Children, Hygiene and Sanitation, Nutrition, Civic Education and Awareness Programmes.
“We came across several cases where parents or guardians were incapable of taking care of their children,” informs Reaz. “One cancer-stricken old lady came to us because she was unable to take the responsibility of her grandchild. There are many such children, who come from broken families or have financial limitations.” For these children, Mastul Foundation has a shelter home called Safe Heaven, which was registered in 2016. Currently, Safe Heaven hosts nine children. Additionally, the foundation supports underprivileged street children by taking care of their basic needs and equipping them with ethical knowledge, as they are at risk of turning to crimes.
Under the wing, Projects for Women, Mastul Foundation operates several projects, which focus on matters such as women empowerment, women’s rights, ending violence and sexual harassment against women, child marriage and women’s health. The objectives of these projects include developing women’s skills in handcrafts and tailoring, as well as teaching women about their legal rights and providing them with legal counselling support, and educating both men and women about human rights, social norms and human behaviour. They also run health camps to provide support to underprivileged women for any complications during menstruation, family planning, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
Mastul Foundation also has youth- based projects that are focused on leadership, skill building and developmental work. These projects are directed and coordinated by young people through workshops for the youth. Through these projects, the organisation aims to improve the youth’s knowledge about communication, project management, networking, and community development.
“Project for Conflicts and Natural Disasters and Refugees is one of our most effective initiatives,” mentions Reaz. This project includes Trauma Care Centre, Temporary Shelter, Medical Camp, Water and Sanitation Facility and Non Formal Education and Counselling. We help disaster and conflict-affected people by establishing facilities for them.We stood by the Rohingya people, we built houses for them, gave them food, gave them medicines, arranged sanitation for them and established pure drinking water for them.”