NARAYANGANJ, Bangladesh–“I never reach for the stars,” says Runa Khan during our interview. As the founder and director of Friendship, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization (NGO) in a country of more than 20,000 NGOs, this is quite the statement. “I look at the stars, I see the stars—I want that. But…the key to the work that Friendship does is simplicity.” Khan, an emerging leader in satellite health and social service provision to the coastal areas of her home country, is not afraid to cause a commotion. Khan, born and raised in Dhaka, is the brains, and beauty, behind Friendship, an NGO that began work converting river barges to sustainable health clinics in the vulnerable chars, islands made of sediment in the North.
Originally from Seattle, WA, Katherine Warren is studying Anthropology and Psychology at Harvard University. A social entrepreneur and occasional journalist, she founded two youth advocacy organizations - the Athena Program, a service-focused mentoring program for Boston young women, and the Akili Initiative, an international youth think tank for adolescent health and development. She has researched violence against women in Bangladesh and female youth suicide on Native American reservations. Katherine has also published and consulted on this research with the United Nations, tribal governments, and other organizations. An American fiddler and highpoint hiker, Katherine is interested in indigenous health and plans a career in indigenous health and health policy.