March 19, 2019

10 years Friendship Nederland: “Equal access to justice for all”

Dorothee ter Kulve, founder of  Friendship Netherland.

10 years ago Friendship Nederland was founded by Dorothee ter Kulve to support Runa Kahn, founder of Friendship Bangladesh, in realizing her dream of bringing healthcare to the forgotten Char people of North Bangladesh.

In those 10 years Friendship Bangladesh has grown into a trusted organization that commits itself to the social and economic development of these remote islands. Throughout this journey Dorothee and Friendship Nederland have proven to be invaluable partners for Runa and her organization.

Last May 17, Friendship Nederland celebrated this 10 year anniversary in the Humanity Hub in The Hague with an inspiring afternoon on Inclusive Citizenship. The event was organized together with the Hiil organization (The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law). Both Friendship and Hiil are convinced that equal access to justice is a critical part of a stable and prospering society.

Runa Kahn, founder of Friendship Bangladesh.

Past year Hill has done extensive research on the Bangladesh judicial system. Prof. Dr. Maurits Barendrecht and Data Analyst Martijn Kind where invited to present the results of the Hiil report “Justice Needs &Satisfaction in Bangladesh” (

Professor Barendrecht talked about making the law more accessible for everybody, and the (digital)innovations that can make this possible.

Friendships founder Runa Kahn approached the subject from her grassroots experience with the remote Char communities : “You can only start to think about pursuing your civil rights when you are healthy and have some food in your belly”.

The first 10 years Friendship has focused on health and education. Since a few years they have taken the next step by launching their Inclusive Citizenship Program( This program helps the Char people gain access to information about their civil rights and obligations. For these forgotten people this is an important step forward to becoming self-reliant citizens of Bangladesh.

The afternoon ended with a big thank you from Dorothee ter Kulve to Friendships committed group of sponsors: “An organization like Friendship cannot exist and realize its dreams without you. I have always felt the overwhelming support and encouragement by all of you. Our combined effort alone cannot lift the country out of poverty, but it can make people a lot healthier, safer and smarter, so they are able to do the job themselves”

Friendship Netherland’s 10th Anniversary.


Dorothee ter Kulve, Chairman

Dorothee studied business administration in Rotterdam and International Relations at Johns Hopkins University. She worked for five years at a multinational company and then spent five years as an independent entrepreneur in the Czech Republic. This has enabled her to get to know the professionalism of a large organization and the entrepreneurial spirit of a small company. She lived with her family for a long time in former Eastern Europe and China. All these different experiences together have laid the foundation for Dorothee’s vision and involvement in development work. “I am convinced that the problems of population growth and persistent poverty can best be addressed by investing in education and health care in underdeveloped areas. As these areas develop, the birth rates will decrease what is needed for a peaceful balanced and sustainable world. ”

Runa Khan, Founder and Director of Friendship

Runa Khan is the founder and CEO of Friendship. The roots of Friendship lie in the broad experience of Runa in, among other things, education, tourism, communication and setting up small businesses. She is the author of eight published books (6 on pedagogy and 2 on children’s stories). Runa is a board member at Global Dignity and country manager of Global Dignity Bangladesh. She is also founder of Friendship International, an organization that works in four European countries. Her work for Friendship is based on practical innovation, empathy, respect and a deep sense of justice. Runa has won several international awards, such as Ashoka, IDB Schwab Foundation and Positive Planet. In addition, she is the only Rolex Laureate from Bangladesh.



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