Triple A Awardee 2020

“Bangladeshi by blood, Filipino by heart” is how friends and colleagues describe Kamrul Tarafder, ME 2003. Among his many titles – vice-chair and co-founder of Midas Data Sharing System, treasurer of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, president emeritus of the Bangladesh Association of the Philippines, chairman of Education for Skills Development, and member of Philippines Bangladesh Business Council – none are as close to his heart as president, CEO, and co-founder of ASA Philippines Foundation. Mr. Taradfer’s passion for leadership and managerial skills were used as a solid foundation to fulfill his passion for helping the less privileged and empowering them to create a better future for themselves.

Mr. Taradfer sought to refine his experience and skills in development at AIM, having previously served as deputy general manager of ASA Bangladesh, as development officer of RSEP in Bangladesh, and as team leader consultant of UNDP, which is recognized as the architect of the ASA system in the Philippines. In this capacity, Mr. Taradfer handled three projects and assisted in the introduction of ASA to more than 25 microfinance institutions.

After graduating from AIM in 2003, Mr. Taradfer co-founded the ASA Philippines Foundation in 2004. Driven by a vision to serve female entrepreneurs through microfinance services, Mr. Taradfer grew the foundation from a small, three-man office in Camarin, Caloocan, to what is now one of the Philippines’ largest microfinance agencies in only 15 years, catering to over 2 million clients and helping them help themselves. Today, ASA Philippines Foundation is one of the top microfinance institutions in Southeast Asia, garnering accolades such as Outstanding Microfinance Instituion, Best MFI Intermediary, and Best MFI – Availer. The assistance that ASA offers loaners extends not only to business endeavors, but also to their families; approximately a third of all ASA Philippines staff come from the families of borrowers. Mr. Taradfer’s ability to inspire, motivate, and bring people to their full potential is the secret sauce that made ASA Philippines what it is today.

Despite being an NGO, ASA Philippines does not accept grants. This policy was brought about by Mr. Taradfer’s belief that any developmental undertaking must be self-sufficient. In spite of this, ASA Philippines was able to assist over 2 million individuals with over Php 1.5 billion funds, all of which were internally generated through microfinance operations. Mr. Taradfer’s stance is that “ASA Philippines is an institution of the poor, by the poor, for the poor”.

For his devotion to seek excellence and translate that into societal economic development that addresses and helps the marginalized, Mr. Tarafder truly deserves the title of leader.