Tasmiha Khan ’12, founder of Brighter Dawns, a charitable organization committed to improving health in the slums of Bangladesh, was invited to the White House to participate in a forum to discuss the important role that faith-based social innovators play in expanding opportunity and addressing social issues. Khan, who was selected by DoSomething.org as one of 11 Young Women To Look Out For, founded Brighter Dawns in the fall of 2010 after working on a health and hygiene project in Bangladesh with the World Peace & Cultural Foundation that summer. Back on campus, she convinced other students to join her in addressing the concerns she’d observed.
The White House event, arranged by the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in coordination with the Office of Public Engagement, brought together leading faith-based social innovators from around the country.
The afternoon offered briefings, panels, and small-and-large group discussions to explore the ways that these faith-based organizations are creating entrepreneurial ventures. They offer innovative models to create positive change in our economy, and they frequently serve at-risk communities.
“I was able to meet with senior officials such as Mr. Jonathan Greenblatt [executive director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation] and Mr. Joshua DuBois [executive director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships] and had an exclusive opportunity to present our work,” Khan says. “Of course, Wesleyan was mentioned—how could it not? It was a phenomenal event.”
Khan and members of the Brighter Dawns team are planning to return to Bangladesh later this summer.