Letter from Bangladesh : ANTAR Response during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 moment, people, particularly the poorer sections, are passing through a very critical time in Bangladesh as informal sector workers who mostly depending on daily basis work. They work on no job basis. Some are self-employed with micro businesses like small shops, cottage industry, etc.

Some are Rickshaw Pullers, Daily Labourers, etc. All sorts of works and income opportunities for the daily basis workers are closed now as they are staying home and supposed not to go out.

In Bangladesh, at present more than 30 million people are living below the poverty line and a lion portion of them are daily basis workers. Literally, these people are starving along with their family members because they do not have any work resulting in no income.

This is a big livelihood crisis for this group of people. Responses in this regard are very few. The crisis is going to be critical day by day as no one knows how long the crisis will continue or how big it will be.

At present ANTAR is working with more than 20,000 families on the rural level with its regular development activities covering health, education, training, livelihood, income generation, and environment.

In this situation during the pandemic, ANTAR is working for poor people but these are on a very small scale and in the rural level people need support for their food and nutrition. ANTAR is doing community awareness through our staff. We have developed and distributed awareness materials on coronavirus among community people. We have also distributed food as humanitarian activities for the poor community and we have also stopped taking repayment of microcredit instalments from the borrowers.

ANTAR also providing primary medical support with medicine to the community people from the very beginning of this Corona Pandemic and now we are providing telemedicine to the community people through our medical team in the rural areas. ANTAR also provided primary medical support to the Rohingya people with medicine in Cox’s Bazar in the initial period of the corona Pandemic.

With this small support, people are fulfilling their minimum food & nutrition and health needs. The youths, children, and women are breathing space in this time of huge crisis.