Our Story

Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI) was founded in 2003 in response to the crisis faced by children in countries like Bangladesh, India,Nicaragua, and many others. Over the years we have consistently expanded the scope of our programs as well as our impact, and we remain firmly committed to our mission of creating lasting change for children.

The Founding of DCI

Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI) grew out of the life experiences, values, passion and vision of two Doctors, Ehsanul Hoque and Brian DeBroff. Although they come from ostensibly different backgrounds, they share the common goal of empowering disadvantaged children through education and health care.

Dr. Hoque’s lifelong work on behalf of children is rooted in his own childhood experiences. Dr. Hoque grew up in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. He was born with congenital cataracts and, by the age of five, had already undergone several eye surgeries. His personal struggles with his eyesight have given him a deep understanding of the difficulties faced by the visually impaired and the physically challenged – especially children.

While in medical school, Dr. Hoque started organizing a number of very basic programs to improve the quality of life in rural Bangladesh. He distributed vegetable seeds to villagers to plant in their homestead gardens, and encouraged women in the villages to spread the message about the importance of proper nutrition for children and the necessity for mothers to eat vegetables during pregnancy. He recruited his fellow medical students to work as volunteers.

Through his work, Dr. Hoque witnessed the suffering of many poor, undernourished, orphaned and, all too often, abused children. He could not help but be moved by the stark contrast between his privileged existence and the harsh reality of these children’s lives. He was struck by the profound injustice of this situation: that, through no fault of their own, these children were being denied their fundamental human rights. It was then that Dr. Hoque realized what his true calling in life was. He knew that one day he would found a child rights organization dedicated to helping as many children as possible worldwide.

In March, 2001, Dr. Hoque joined the Department of Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, where he met Dr. Brian DeBroff, Vice Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Having lost his own parents when he was young, Dr. DeBroff has always been keenly aware of the challenges facing orphans and underprivileged children. As a specialist in congenital cataract surgery who has pioneered multiple novel techniques to treat the disease, he was eager to use his skills to fight early blindness in children – a phenomena that occurs all too frequently in developing countries like Bangladesh.

Recognizing that they shared a passion for improving the lives of impoverished children, Dr. Hoque and Dr. DeBroff joined together to create an organization dedicated to that goal. On May 24, 2003, at a meeting at Yale University Medical School, DCI was founded. On April 25, 2005, DCI received official recognition from the US Government, and from the Connecticut Secretary of State soon thereafter. Thus DCi’s journey began officially. In January 2006, DCI started its Sun Child Sponsorship Program, in 2008 it started is Health for underprivileged program and in 2010 the Orphan Support Program.

Join Us!

DCI believes that real joy comes not from social status or material comfort, but from recognizing our common humanity and helping those in need. Please join us in this monumental undertaking, which we are accomplishing one child at a time with the help of compassionate individuals like you.