Besides the first responders and frontline staff, this time we have seen the growing prominence of intelligent volunteerism.
The coronavirus pandemic has raised havoc around the globe and affected the livelihoods of people in many ways, Bangladesh being no exception. The lethal disease COVID-19 is likely to leave a deadlier impact on the country’s economy, ultimately devastating the lives of the less fortunate. However, many organisations and individuals also are stepping up to provide necessary aid to the poor people across the capital.
Although methods of these individuals and organisations are different such as some are providing food twice a day whereas others are giving away necessary items and in some cases money.
Tanbir Hasan Shaikat, a student of Dhaka University and elected member of DUCSU has extended help to around 1,000 disadvantaged people by providing them cooked meals twice a day. The food is cooked at Teacher Student Center of DU and three teams under his supervision distribute them in different areas near DU campus.
“We first started to distribute rice, lentils, potatoes, oil and other essential items to 50 people a day since March 24 but now we are feeding 1,000 people in two shifts,” he said.
Although he started to help out the rootless people within the campus area out of his own expense and help from friends, now his team has support from many people, a large number of them are former students of DU.
Tahmid Hossain, another student of Dhaka University and one of the founders of Pashe Achi Initiative spoke to our sister newsagency UNB about their activities to help out the impoverished people of the capital. Pashe Achi Initiative was founded by the students of the Economics department in DU.
“We are trying to cover areas within and surrounding the capital. We have so far distributed essential food items in Kalyanpur, Goran, Basabo, Malibagh, Mugda, Kamlapur, Khilkhet and Khilgaon area, especially among the day labourers who have no earnings now. We are trying to reach out to the people in need in areas like Shyampur, Jurain, and Savar,” he said.
Pashe Achi Initiative reached out and extended help to the transgender community as well. “We are trying to ensure that nobody is left out in this period of crisis,” Tahmid said.
Their organisation started sending aid to 100 people a day from March 22 and is working with a goal to help at least 5000 people. Pashe Achi Initiative has been providing aid to people outside of Dhaka too in areas like Kurigram.
Gift for Good, another non-profit social working organisation which serves as a sister concern of Alokito Shishu Trust has so far provided food items to around 800 families so far. These aids have been provided with support from other voluntary organisations.
Mithun Das, founder, and CEO of Alokito Shishu said they have also distributed cooked food among 1000 rickshaw pullers. The organisation is working in collaboration with Bidyanondo, Syed Shakil Welfare Trust and Asha Hope for Bangladesh. They have been extending help to people outside of Dhaka as well.
“We are working with a goal to provide 7-days worth essential food items to 1500 families by April 9,” Mithun Das said.
All of the aforementioned organisations also supplied sanitary aids such as hand sanitizers, masks, and soap to impoverished population across the capital. Aside from these voluntary organisations, activists of student wings of political parties are working to provide aid to the poor within and outside of the capital.