Youth undoubtedly is the most viable and potential human resources for any population and social structure. Around 50% of the population in Bangladesh is youth who are the key agents for social changes. In Bangladesh, one of the biggest platforms for the youth serves the nation under the Youth Development Program of JAAGO Foundation rapidly known as ‘Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD)’. At present VBD has a youth network in all the 8 divisions of the country with 35,000 registered volunteers who work for the betterment of the country chasing the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Initially, when COVID 19 started to spread from country to country, they were the first organization in Bangladesh who initiated awareness campaign countrywide where hygiene and safety kits like face mask, hand sanitizer; soaps were distributed in 17 different districts in Bangladesh. When the lockdown has started, the government has imposed restriction on mass movement of people outside of their residence. During that time, they have initiated more than 50 online awareness campaigns to let people know about COVID 19 and its impact. Moreover, to reduce the monotony of youth society, they have launched creative online competitions, workshops and many other activities to engage and cheer them up.
Given the current situation and the misery that has been bestowed upon us by the dreadful disease- Covid19, everything around us seems to be going into downfall. As the lower income workers are suffering the most during this global pandemic and economic instability, JAAGO Foundation has been partnering with other organizations to aid them. Hence, with the help of the organizations, the volunteers of Volunteer for Bangladesh have been working tirelessly to make care packages containing essential items and distributing them amongst slum dwellers from around 10 districts while maintaining safety measures and social distancing. Besides that with the initiative from JAAGO Foundation, the volunteers of VBD were the key soldiers to bring smile on 96000 faces by providing food in different parts of the country.The organization has also reached to the doors of 400 lower middle class families living in Dhaka and Chittagong keeping their identity under strict discretion.
But the situation was getting tough day by day for the underprivileged people living around them. So these dedicated and courageous souls have come forward by taking some fundraising initiative on their own and distributed food items for 7-15 days with hygiene items to more than 2000 families in different districts of Bangladesh which has directly benefited around 8000 underprivileged and lower income people. Around 26 different campaigns were initiated by them to support the local farmers hand to hand by working in the field directly in order to help them for harvesting crops before the monsoon comes. Moreover, they have also initiated the telemedicine campaign around the country with the volunteer network of Mymensingh where most of them are from the doctors’ community of Mymensingh Medical College. People are getting effective health services 24/7 without going outside and within few minutes.
The situation was turning worse when the super cyclone Amphan hit the southern coast of Bangladesh by the end of May. During this lockdown and COVID 19 crisis, this natural disaster has increased the sufferings of the people living in the coastal areas to a greater level. The volunteers had played a benevolent role to reduce the risk factor and save lives. They raised early warnings in the villages at Satkhira by avoiding rain and storm, stayed in the cyclone shelter to maintain social distancing and support the people, supplied drinking water and saline in the most affected areas and also helped the local people to rebuild the dam and damaged houses. This sort of dedication and courage has never seen before during a dual crisis faced by a country. They are still working to raise fund, develop projects and implement them to the welfare of the society. We were locked down inside, but they played their role actively outside. Their effort keeps our hopes alive and let people dream for a better world after this crisis.The volunteers will continue to work for the people while maintaining all the precautions as they want to build a sustainable nation.