Young people are saving lives
In Bangladesh, Diakonia’s partner organization BARCIK quickly began working to curb the spread of Covid-19. Now, youth groups are trying to provide information and help to people living in rural areas and the Dhaka slums. “I keep a physical distance, but never a social one,” says Fazlul Haque, one of the young people.
People living in poverty, casual labourers, farmers or people living in slums are particularly at risk of infection. Many lack access to information, live in overcrowded conditions and find it difficult to keep their distance from others. In addition, many people are suddenly without food and livelihood after the government decided to quarantine homes, stop public transport and ban gatherings.
“We are in both a vulnerable and a dangerous situation. We need to do what we can for our community,” says Fazlul Haque.
Looking for vulnerable people
BARCIK’s youth groups are seeking out people in Dhaka’s overcrowded slums, as well as indigenous peoples and marginalised rural ethnic groups. They put out coloured markings to show how people should keep their distance in public places, talk about the importance of washing hands and using masks, and hand out soap.
“We’ve also collected money and food from richer people and distributed these to poor women,” says Anisur Rahman, who is also involved in the effort. BARCIK has also brought together doctors, academics, activists, slum leaders, journalists and young people to discuss and coordinate efforts to reduce the spread of infection.
Khodeja Sultana, Country Director Bangladesh, tells us:
“Diakonia and our partner organizations in Bangladesh are flexible and used to supporting communities in unpredictable situations. Together we have organized local groups that are trained in risk management and post-crisis recovery. They assess the community’s needs and provide support on the basis of all people’s equal rights.”