FOBANA chairman Mr. Rehan Reza presented the trophy to Dr. Hoque before an audience of over 2,000, which included the Honorable Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA H.E. Akramul Qader and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Dr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen.
DCI was founded at Yale University and began operations in Bangladesh in 2005. It now reaches more than 10,000 people, combating poverty, providing education and health services, and furthering human rights awareness.
“Under Dr. Hoque’s leadership, DCI has grown into one of the most prominent development organizations in the USA, serving thousands of people and achieving extraordinary impact in reducing child labor, blindness and poverty, and empowering the poor,” said Mr. Reza. “Whereas most NGOs might tackle one aspect of poverty, DCI delivers solutions on many fronts.” Reza added. Mr. Azadul Haq, Executive Secretary of FOBANA, said, “DCI has created an effective and transparent system and is the best way to help Bangladesh.” He added, “Dr. Hoque and DCI volunteers are true heroes whose tireless dedication and commitment has improved and even saved the lives of thousands.”
Dr. Ehsan Hoque said, “To receive the FOBANA award is a great honor and validation of our work. I am proud to receive the award on behalf of DCI and all our donors, sponsors, and volunteers whose work has been critical to the success of our mission. Together, it is our goal to help the underprivileged control their own lives. This award will motivate us to take on greater challenges and develop the potential of these people, especially the children and women. We are all honored by this recognition of DCI’s work.”
During his acceptance speech, Dr. Ehsan Hoque described his early experiences with DCI and reflected on the lessons he learned along the way with the organization:
“I began trying to help the poor of Bangladesh about 30 years ago. As a medical student and then as a doctor, I was shocked to see how many people were suffering due to their poverty. I saw how many children were going blind, which I knew could have been prevented. At first, my aim was to help these kids. Then I realized that the underlying causes were poverty and lack of education and it was insufficient to just provide eye care. Of the many things I have learned, perhaps the most important is that poverty is a failure of the system, and once conditions are right, poor people will work with their own abilities to defeat poverty themselves. I dream of a world where all children have equal access to education, healthcare and basic human necessities. I dream of a world free from poverty and child labor. And I see education as the way to fulfill my dream.”
Immediately after the award ceremony, Dr. Hoque met several representatives of the news media at the Cobb Galleria. Dr. Hoque was also congratulated on DCI’s success by numerous leading figures of the Bangladesh Medical Association of North America, the American Association of Bangladeshi Engineers & Architects, and many other organizations. Among them were Dr. Maksud Chowdhury (President of BMANA), Dr. Ruby Hossain, Dr. Syed Wasim, Dr. Azizul Hoque, Mr. Faisal Qader, and Mr. Saleh Kibria.
DCI patron and prominent eye surgeon Syed Wadud said, “I operated on Dr. Ehsan Hoque’s own eyes over 45 years ago. It is wonderful to see that today his organization has mushroomed into a worldwide network of volunteers who help restore sight to the needy.”
DCI President Dr. Brian DeBroff said, “DCI is truly honored to be awarded FOBANA’s Outstanding Community Service Award. I thank you all for your recognition of both DCI’s work and Dr. Hoque’s dedication and passion for our mission. Your support is much appreciated and critical to the success of our mission.” DCI Vice President Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed said, “I want to congratulate Dr. Hoque on behalf of all the members of BMANA for receiving 2013 FOBANA award”.
DCI is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit international child rights organization that supports impoverished children in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. DCI’s mission is to protect the rights of children, stop child labor, and help families lift themselves out of the poverty cycle through education, healthcare, family support, and income generating activities.
DCI will hold its
4th Conference on Child Rights & Sight on September 28th, 2013 at Yale University to mark Child Rights Week and World Sight Day, and will continue to focus global attention on child rights issues and blindness.
About Dr. Ehsan Hoque:
Dr. Ehsan Hoque is a dedicated child rights activist and founder and Executive Director of Distressed Children & Infants International. He was born with congenital cataracts and by the age of five had undergone several surgeries. Despite this, Dr. Hoque completed his medical degree in Bangladesh and after working at Dhaka Children’s Hospital went on to study in Japan and then to Canada where he got his PhD. He has worked in the medical schools at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto, and Yale University.
After witnessing child poverty in Bangladesh while doing volunteer work, Dr. Hoque vowed to build an organization to help underprivileged children and prevent childhood blindness. While at Yale in 2003, he founded Distressed Children & Infants International with his colleague, eye surgeon Dr. Brian DeBroff, and his wife Dr. Nina Hoque.