Friendship is a non-governmental organisation that aims to help poor people in remote and unaddressed communities in Bangladesh.


We make it our priority to reach poor communities in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. The marginalised Char dwellers in Bangladesh count among the most underprivileged communities in the world.

Our work began by making healthcare more accessible to them. In 1994, a river barge was sailed from France to Bangladesh and donated for use by the people of Bangladesh. The barge was converted into Friendship’s first floating hospital and began its work in 2002 under the direction of Runa Khan (Founder and Executive Director).

It soon became clear that to make a lasting impact on people’s lives we had to resolve other issues at the same time to break the cycle of poverty…learn more.


A relatively simple operation is often all that is needed to save or dramatically improve a life. Help us continue to bring life-saving health services to Bangladesh’s marginalised men, women and children.

Our vision

A world where people, especially the hard to reach and unaddressed, will have equal opportunity to live with dignity and hope.

Children from Bangladesh's chars smiling

Our mission

To strengthen marginalised communities and empower people to reach their full potential through a sustainable, integrated development approach.

Husband and wife smiling (Chars, Bangaldesh)

Our core values

  • Integrity
  • Dignity
  • Quality
  • Justice
  • Hope
Child smiling with fish (Chars, Bangaldesh)


The work of Friendship has been recognised by the following awards:

2016 – Aga Khan Award for Architecture

In recognition of the uniquely designed Friendship training center by Architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury.

2014 – Business Excellence Award

From Arthakantha & Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce of Singapore.

2014 – Social Innovation Leadership Award

Awarded by the World CSR Congress.

2012 – Social Entrepreneur Award

From the Schwab Foundation. Runa Khan, was one of 26 entrepreneurs to receive it.

2008 – Islamic Development Bank Award

In recognition of Friendship’s efforts to improve healthcare for women in Bangladesh.

2006 – Rolex Award for Enterprise

The Rolex Award was received for preserving Bangladesh’s boat-building heritage.

2003 – Women Entrepreneurship Award

This award was received for Friendship’s contribution to helping marginalised communities onboard the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital.

1994 – Ashoka Fellowship

Runa Khan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship for her development of innovative user-friendly school textbooks.

Rolex Awards For Enterprise

Watch this video where Runa Khan describes the importance of preserving Bangladesh’s boat-building heritage. In 2006, Rolex Awards for Enterprise selected Runa to be an Associate Laureate for her contribution to Bangladesh’s cultural heritage. To learn more about Friendship’s work on preserving Bangladesh’s boat-building heritage click here