Shakil Hossain ’14, a chemistry concentrator with minors in mathematics and Middle East and Islamic world studies, aspires one day to become a physician. He is not entering the field of medicine for the money or prestige; rather, he hopes to establish a successful medical practice in the United States so that he can spend his spare time helping underprivileged women and children in Bangladesh. His summer internship with Dr. Iftikher Uddin Mahmood at the Hope Foundation for the Women and Children of Bangladesh is the perfect fit for his long-term career goals. Hossain’s internship is supported by the Class of 2006 Summer Internship Fund and the Diversity and Social Justice Project.
The Hope Foundation was created by Mahmood in 1999 and started as a one-room, one-doctor outpatient practice in the rural village of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Today, the Hope Foundation is an international organization that supports eight hospitals, a rural ambulance service and an eye operation center and has dozens of staff members and supporters. The Hope Foundation specializes in low-cost procedures and practices that can have an enormous impact on the daily lives of underprivileged Bangladeshis, such as cleft surgeries, fistula surgeries, nurse training and maternal care.
Hossain works at the Hope Foundation’s main office in Miami, Fla., as an office administrator. His everyday tasks include working on fundraising projects, responding to email requests, updating databases and representing the Hope Foundation at conventions.
Fundraising is the most challenging and enjoyable aspect of Hossain’s work, especially when it comes to preparing grants. He researches opportunities for new sources of income, renews past awards and writes requests for any relevant grants he discovers. So far, Hossain has found three funding sources whose criteria match the various missions of the Hope Foundation. He says that the “most rewarding feeling [occurs] when some organization actually has a grant for exactly what you want.”
Mahmood takes time out of his demanding schedule to meet with and advise Hossain on a daily basis. He serves as an inspiration for Hossain because he “[founded the Hope Foundation] on the side while treating 20-30 patients a day … he started the Hope Foundation from scratch, and it shows that if you want something and put in the effort you really get something out of it.”
The experience of working at the Hope Foundation has opened new doors for Hossain in the field of nonprofit healthcare work. “I have found tons of different non-profit organizations like HOPE Worldwide, Fistula First and Smiletrain.org, that I would love to work for in the future,” he said. He has even contacted the vice president of HOPE Worldwide, an international humanitarian aid program which serves more than 2.5 million people a year, in order to discuss the work done by the Hope Foundation and others like it. While Hossain does not see nonprofit work as a fulltime career, he looks forward to supplementing a professional medical practice with volunteerism.
Hossain is a graduate of North Miami Beach Senior High School (Fla.).