As a safety measure against the coronavirus pandemic, Dhaka has been in isolation since the past few weeks. While the educational institutes have suspended face-to-face classes, most offices have arranged work from home facilities for their employees. The labourers, who have to depend on their daily earning for survival, are currently in distress. Under such circumstances, BD Clean, a social organisation that aims to build a clean nation, in association with Atiqul Islam, the current mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation and his volunteers from the initiative, 'Shobai Mile Shobar Dhaka' have been distributing food packages to underprivileged communities in Dhaka from April 6.
Hawkers, rickshaw pullers, peddlers, van pullers and other daily wage earners are jobless at the moment. BD Clean has already distributed over 7,400 food packages to destitute families. "Initially, the city was supposed to end the shutdown from April 4. However, now that the government has decided to extend it, most of the savings of daily wage earners are almost depleted," mentions Farid Uddin, the chief coordinator of BD Clean. "Consequently, at the moment, the low- income families are struggling to make ends meet. some are even unable to afford one meal every day. With Atiqul sir being our liege, we plan to reach most, if not all, citizens in distress."
A team of 216 BD Clean members has begun listing names, under three categories: more important, important and less important. "Our members are visiting slums, and other such places where most low-income families reside. They are recording their daily income, number of heads in each family, and their phone numbers, along with their addresses," Farid adds. "Depending on their conditions, we have grouped them in different categories." The families from the most important groups had food packages delivered to their homes within a day, whereas the important groups got their supplies in three days and the less important groups will receive their packages in 5 days, from April 6.
A different group of around 40 BD Clean members take care of the packaging and distribution process daily. Each food package consists of rice (5 kg), lentils (1 kg), potatoes (2 kg), cooking oil (1 litre), 4 reusable face masks and a bar of soap. Every day, 3000 food packets are delivered to different locations in Dhaka. "The cotton masks are made at Atiqul sir's factory and can be washed and reused," mentions Farid. Furthermore, each lady commissioner is provided with a hundred packets each, for distribution. "We have started with Dhaka and plan to gradually reach other districts. The distribution will be in process until the people can resume work and start earning. Anyone who needs help or wants to help us expand this initiative can directly contact us through our Facebook page and Atiqul Islam's Facebook fan page," Farid concludes.