It all started in 1994, when Yves Marre, a French sailor, sailed a retired oil barge from France to Bangladesh to have it converted into a floating hospital to provide healthcare services to those who had limited or no access to healthcare. After countless failed attempts to convince various local and international NGOs in Bangladesh of the possibility of converting the barge into a sustainable health delivery model, Yves and Runa took it upon themselves to realize their dream, and that is when our organization, Friendship, began.
With the help of corporate sector funding from Unilever, who believed in Friendship's vision, we were able to progress and start our work in the remote nomadic islands (chars) of northern Bangladesh. Today, Friendship works in the most remote and vulnerable areas of Bangladesh, including the cyclone affected areas of Southern Bangladesh.
Friendship's vision has always been to create and develop an exemplary organization with proven sustainable social, health and environmental initiatives for the poorest of the poor. The interventions of Friendship are based on compassion, empathy, in-depth knowledge, and grass root experience, facilitated by modern technology.
Currently Runa Khan is the Executive Director of Friendship, while Yves Marre is an Advisor to our organization. Prior to Friendship, Runa and Yves set up Contic River Cruise, which offers river excursions on the traditional boats of Bangladesh.