Members of 'Pashey Darao', a voluntary organisation in Chirirbandar upazila, has won the hearts of locals by standing beside the helpless who contracted Covid-19 or lost their livelihoods due to restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic.
The organisation was established amid the first wave of the outbreak last year, on March 6, when drivers of vehicles, including those driving ambulances, had been refusing to transport Covid patients.
Launched initially with a handful of members, Pashey Darao now has 120 members, split in 12 teams to serve residents of all 12 unions in the upazila.
Laila Banu, chief adviser of the organisation and also the elected woman vice-chairman of Chirirbandar Upazila Parishad, said their primary objective is to help out the less fortunate in the upazila.
But after the pandemic broke out, they have been focusing on building Covid-19 awareness and providing all necessary support, including distributing food and logistics, to Covid patients in the upazila.
Their awareness campaigns could be credited for the low infection rate of the disease in the upazila where 238 people have been tested positive since April 14 last year till May 28 this year, she said.
Aside from distributing food aid to the poor during the month of Ramadan, Pashey Darao has been bringing food at the doorsteps of those who have been unable to provide meals for their families after their earnings shrunk or stopped due to various restrictions enforced to contain the virus.
All the team members contribute to raise necessary funds for their humanitarian activities, Laila Banu added.
Mahfuzul Islam Asad, convener of Pashey Darao, said so far they provided support to at least 100 Covid patients in the upazila and their teams in each union are always on standby to provide any assistance Covid patients require during home quarantine.
They also distribute face masks and hand sanitizers to the lower-income group of the society.
Pashey Darao has been standing by the distressed even when ambulance drivers had refused to transport Covid patients. In acknowledgement of the effort, concerned citizens in Chirirbandar came forward and donated the organisation two ambulances, which are being used to carry Covid patients to and from hospitals in Dinajpur and Rangpur, he also said.
A local Covid patient who received assistance from Pashey Darao said, "Covid patients and their families in some places sometimes feel dejected due to non-cooperation of their neighbours. But the patients now can rest assured that help from the members of Pashey Darao is only a phone call away."