Powerboats have largely replaced wooden sailing boats, barges and other kinds of vessels in a more modern Bangladesh, but Runa Khan recognizes the value of age-old traditions and wants to preserve the country’s nautical heritage.
Khan is the founder of Friendship, a social services organization that helps provide health care and education, advocates for equal rights and preserves national heritage in remote communities in Bangladesh.
She has brought together craftsmen trained in traditional boatbuilding — such as master ship’s carpenters and sailmakers — and has tasked them to create scale-model replica boats to preserve the nautical legacy of Bangladesh and make the knowledge accessible to future generations.
This National Geographic video has more:
More than 150 replicas have been built, and a Bengal Friendship Boat Museum is being built on the Bangshi River near Savar.
National Geographic reports that the museum plans to open by late 2018.