Organizations helping in COVID-19 relief efforts with crowd funding | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:55 PM, April 11, 2020

Organizations helping in COVID-19 relief efforts with crowd funding

Bidyanondo Foundation

Bidyanondo Foundation is a non-profit social welfare organization that has been helping the unfortunate even before the coronavirus pandemic. However, owing to the current situation, Bidyanondo Foundation has been working round the clock to make sure the deprived have a source of food and other necessities.

"We are providing food for the families in slums, cooked in our kitchen. About four to five thousand packets get distributed each day," said Jakir Hossain, Secretary of the organization. They are also distributing dry nutrients such as rice, lentils and flour. With the help of donations, they have reached 1 lakh items in stock already. These meals are being delivered to underprivileged families both inside and outside of Dhaka such as Chittagong, Rangpur and Rajshahi. With the help of a supportive company supplying free healthcare items, Bidyanondo Foundation has been successful in distributing them in hospitals and to doctors in the Upazilas. To cover such a vast network, volunteers have been appointed for execution. Jakir said, "We screen the volunteers to make sure there is no misuse of resources. Whenever we have fallen short of volunteers, we go and ask the Bangladesh Police Force for help and they have been more than happy to assist us"

Bangladesh Students' Union

Bangladesh Students' Union helps distribute 150 litres of hand sanitizer every day, produced in-house and free of cost. After Shyamjit Paul, a student of the Department of Pharmacy and a core member of the Dhaka University committee of the organisation came up with this idea, they decided to reach out to social media for financial support. Around 20 people toil day and night at TSC to meet with the demand for their hand sanitizers. "We realized that production was the most important aspect of the plan. We were preparing the sanitizer bottles outside of the Munir Chowdhury Auditorium in TSC initially, but then we managed to get permission from the authority and turned the auditorium into a make-shift lab", said Meghmallar Bose, the Acting GS of the Dhaka University Committee of Bangladesh Students' Union.

They are also expanding into the food distribution sector and successfully delivered food in Dhaka, Sylhet and Barisal. Bangladesh Students' Union is prioritizing the workers, journalists and medical staffers during their product distribution since these people are at the highest risk. Recently, a transgender group had reached out to them for help and they delivered 200 units of sanitizer bottles in the area. The organization has also arranged an awareness programme regarding COVID-19 in a red light area in Daulatdiya, Khulna. So far 85000 units of hand sanitizers have been produced in Dhaka, Chattogram, Shariatpur, Sylhet, Moulobibazar, Gopalgonj, Rangpur, Naugaon and Kishorgonj. "We keep a certain amount stocked for emergencies, such as for hospitals. The rest have been distributed", Meghmallar assured.

Pashe Achhi Foundation

Pashe Achhi Foundation was an initiative taken by a group of Economics majors studying at Dhaka University to help the helpless people of the country. In the beginning, Tahmid Hasan, one of the founding members, along with his friends distributed meals to the rickshaw pullers and CNG drivers, funded by their own money. Having met with numerous mouths to feed, they decided to go to social media to ask for donations. They had met with a huge response and successfully distributed meals to those deserving families with the funds.

Till now, Pashe Achhi has covered Dhanmondi, Shankar, Mohammadpur, Tarpir Jurain, Shyampur, Goran, Mugda, Merul Badda, Rayerbazar and Shaheenbagh inside Dhaka. They are now focusing on expanding the activities outside of Dhaka and have already covered Gongachor, Rangpur. Other than that, they are also helping the transgender and sex worker communities in Savar and Jurain. Besides food, the organization is also spraying disinfectants in different slums around Dhaka and supplying PPEs to hospitals through a local importer. "All these activities have been made possible due to crowd funding. We just wanted to inspire people to do the same in the beginning but people wanted to help us financially and that's what started this initiative," shared Tahmid.

Mission Save Bangladesh

During these hard times, underprivileged people are at the most at risk. Keeping that in mind, Sheba.xyz had partnered with The Daily Star and The Daily Samakal to launch the social initiative, "Mission Save Bangladesh". Their main goal is to provide grocery items to the underprivileged such as the rickshaw pullers of the city. Tajdin Hassan, Head of Marketing, The Daily Star, said, "Along with Adnan Imtiaz, we had decided to come up with a way to keep these families at home for 10 days". Adnan Imtiaz is the Co-founder of Sheba.xyz. Now they had set a budget for allocating BDT 1000 worth groceries for 1300 rickshaw pullers each. This meant they needed at least BDT 13 lakhs to get started. With the help of corporate donations from numerous organizations, they were able to raise around BDT 60 lakhs. Thanks to Shakib Al Hasan and his initiative, The Shakib Al Hasan Foundation, Mission Save Bangladesh received an enormous amount of support and donations.

Mission Save Bangladesh focuses on supporting the private sectors more and will contribute to the SME sector soon. "Companies such as IDLC Finance, Shwapno, Pathao, Arla and many more have supported us in ways we could never imagine", shared Tajdin. Mission Save Bangladesh believes in transparency and showcases each of their transactions on their Facebook page.

Shishuder Jonno Foundation

Shishuder Jonno Foundation has been supporting children from underprivileged families and in this coronavirus outbreak, they have taken the initiative to deliver grocery items to those working families with no source of income. "In this situation, we just want to help! We want everyone to help each other according to their capability," stated Mueed Hasan, founding member and director of the organization.

Shishuder Jonno Foundation has raised awareness of Corona Virus infection among people whilst donating hand sanitizers to them. Furthermore, 500 filter masks have been donated among helpless people and day labourers. Groups of the foundation from Dhaka, Tangail, Rajbari, Rangpur have sprayed germicide in different areas, drains, roads and vehicles. The group operating in Dhaka is working for the day labourers, especially those who are not out of work by managing their meals for 10 days. Rajbari group is arranging balanced meals every day for more than a hundred uprooted people. The Tangail group is working on a plan to help 300 underprivileged families by arranging their food. 10 kg of rice, 3 kg of potato, 1 kg of red gram, 1 litre of soybean oil, 500 grams of salt, soaps, detergent powders have been distributed to helpless families. Shishuder Jonno Foundation has also emphasized on the importance of stray animals lives and providing meals to them regularly. "Volunteers of this foundation are working alongside the government to make sure no one is left hungry", said Mueed.

Many other organizations are working for this cause with crowd founding apart from the ones mentioned in this piece.

Watch this space for more updates. You can visit the Facebook page of each group to access activity info and details on how to donate.

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