Friendship started operating in 2002. It was founded by Runa Khan, now Executive Director, supported by a group of well-wishers and advisors who believed in the vision of carrying healthcare to the ultra-poor in the remote communities of the rivers of Bangladesh. Friendship began with the innovative concept of a floating hospital. Yves Marre sailed a river barge from France to Bangladesh to donate it for use by the people of Bangladesh. The concept was realised when the river barge was converted to a fully equipped hospital ship, the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital. Since then, Friendship has developed a structured three-tier healthcare system to provide comprehensive quality health and information to the remote river-based communities of northern and southern Bangladesh. Recognising that the broader goal of enabling these communities to improve their living conditions and gain control over their lives requires more than healthcare support alone, Friendship has progressively built its distinctive integrated community development model, which includes:
• HEALTH, NUTRITION AND POPULATION
• DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
• GOOD GOVERNANCE
• SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
• CULTURAL PRESERVATION
Based upon the experience gained through its successes and continuous challenges in all of these Sectors, Friendship has been constantly shaping its interventions over many years to meet the diverse and evolving needs of the communities it serves and to assist them with long-term solutions to improve their lives.