The ongoing COVID19 catastrophe and its prolonged lockdown periods continue to take a toll on the middle and lower-income people in Bangladesh. As a result, countless people are now struggling to earn even the minimum livelihood to survive. In continuation of last year’s response, Brac once again pledged to stand beside the deeply affected families, and Grameenphone, as a first respondent, joined the cause “Dakche Abar Desh” to aid more than 33,000 families. BRAC on the other hand, announced to contribute to support 50,000 families.
In addition, ‘Daakche Abar Desh’ will also function as a solidarity platform for relief assistance, which means public fundraising and institutional contribution are encouraged for supportive intervention towards the cause.
Grameenphone and Brac will contribute BDT 50 million and 75 million to the cause, respectively. Expert field workers from Brac will identify the ones forced to live below the poverty line due to the contagion, emphasizing on the elderly people, pregnant or lactating mothers, people with disabilities, women-headed households, people living in ultra-poverty, and those who are not receiving support from any other sources. Each family will get food assistance worth 1500 BDT.
Grameenphone announced this social contribution today at a virtual press conference, where Shyam Sunder Sikder, chairman of BTRC graced the event as the Chief Guest. Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer of Grameenphone, Tushar Bhowmik, Chief Financial Officer of BRAC, among others were present. Khairul Basher, Head of Communications of Grameenphone, moderated the program.
Speaking as chief guest Shyam Sunder Sikder, Chairman of BTRC, said, “Every country needs an economy, where intangible factors like social compassion and neighbourly coexistence are also addressed with enough importance, especially when our country needs us more than ever. The dream of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was to establish a social synergy through humanity and empathy. Grameenphone and BRAC are materializing that dream into reality. I am truly impressed by Grameenphone and BRAC’s diligent efforts to organize a project like ‘Daakche Abar Desh.’ Joint efforts like these are just what the nation needs now to turnaround.”
Yasir Azman, Grameenphone CEO, said, “Grameenphone has been continuously assessing COVID-19 development and responding with different direct and indirect contributions from the beginning of the pandemic. Responding to the call of the Honorable Prime Minister, besides the government agencies, BRAC and many other non-governmental and privately-owned organizations have been coming forward to fight back the profound impact of Coronavirus.”
He added, “In continuation of our covid-19 response “Daakche Amar Desh” this year, especially before Eid, we have responded to Brac to stand beside the highly impacted population of our society with a food assistance response “Daakche Abar Desh”. We are firmly committed to playing our role as a leading technology and emergency service provider and help society turn around these unprecedented challenging times. We also look forward to having contributions from both individuals and organizations to this cause.”
Tushar Bhowmik, Chief Financial Officer of Brac, said, “Since March last year, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll. It has been particularly tough for the low and mid-income segments, whose livelihoods are at stake. There is no alternative to combined efforts from all sectors to win this fight. Grameenphone has been the first institutional responder to our call to stand beside people in need and set an example for others to join. Together with all our partners and the resilient people of Bangladesh, we are committed to leave no one behind and do everything we can to alleviate the struggle people are facing.”
Grameenphone and BRAC came together to address this crisis last year as well. The two organizations provided 200,000 families in distress with BDT 1500 each through ‘Daakche Amar Desh’ in 2020. In addition, BRAC reached an additional 165,000 families through other partners as a result of the platform and call to action. The company also collaborated with DG Health, a2i, BTRC, World Health Organization (WHO) to drive mass awareness using our communication channels, aid medical frontline and supported data analytics to a2i to map the spread of Coronavirus.