Parvez Hasan started Sohomormita Foundation in 2018 to restore the basic rights and fulfill the basic needs of underprivileged families across Bangladesh. The idea came to him when he saw two kids trying to comfort their mother, who was too tired and drained due to the scorching heat in the busy street of Sobhanbagh, Dhanmondi. Belonging to a low-income family himself, Parvez has seen and lived a similar life to those children.
"I saw two young kids nursing their mother with just one small bottle of water, while I was returning home, after running some errands. Inadequate water supply is one of the major challenges in Dhaka, but this did not stop them from trying to help their mother," shares Parvez. "They were pouring the water over their mother's head, using a small plastic bowl." Parvez decided to help out this family and that night, he posted their photo on his Facebook profile, which was widely shared. Many reached out to him, and the next day, he came back to Dhanmondi to find out more about the mother and the kids. "They were a family from Kurigram who had lost their house. The father was a heart patient and his treatment cost them a fortune," explains Parvez. "Later, the DC of Kurigram contacted me and in a collaborative effort, we bought the family an easy bike and restored their house. The children now go to school."
Since then, many joined hands with Parvez in Sohomormita Foundation to facilitate education for underprivileged children. They also help out lost citizens. "Till date, we have managed education facilities for 44 children, and we have successfully reunited 88 families with their lost parents or old relatives," adds Parvez.
The foundation has been working relentlessly with 2,000 volunteers in these unprecedented times. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Parvez, along with his team, has been providing food to middle-income families. "The low-income families can access food and other forms of relief, but it seems like the middle-income ones are overlooked. Many of them are also unemployed," asserts Parvez. "Under such circumstances, we were able to reach out to around 5000 such families and help them confidentially." The members and volunteers of the organisation take all necessary precautions when they step out.
Parvez and his team also distributed food and other essentials to victims of Cyclone Amphan in Satkhira. When news about the cyclone broke out, they rushed to the disaster-prone area and started evacuating villages. Upon arriving in Satkhira, the team was faced with some unexpected challenges. They found out that most of the proper toilets were destroyed by the cyclone and a lot more people were left homeless and starving, than they had anticipated. As a result, they had to stay back, and ensure health and hygiene measures for the people, alongside distributing food boxes. The volunteers travelled to the villagers' houses by boat and took them to shelters, where they were provided with cooked meals and other necessary items for the following week. "We soon noticed that the women and girls were unable to maintain menstrual hygiene, as there were no proper toilets or sewage systems in the region," says Parvez. "To overcome the problem, we provided the female villagers with sanitary napkins and also built 10 toilets in a higher land of the region, so that the sewage water does not mix with the flood water." Sohomormito Foundation has successfully provided food and sanitary napkins to over 2,000 families and is currently working to rehabilitate them by restoring their damaged houses.
Ek Takar Medical Camp, a project initiated by the organisation, provides doctors' consultancies and free medicines to those in need. They have also helped over 3,500 patients with blood donations. Sohomormito Foundation also organises Hashir Dokan for children duing festivals, where they can buy toys and new clothes in exchange of flowers, crafts, paintings, or just simple promises to help others. The organisation currently operates in 31 districts in the country, including areas of Dhaka, Comilla, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barishal. "We need as many hands on deck as possible. So, anyone is welcome to join us in Sohomormito Foundation," concludes Parvez.