[Dhaka, April 24, 2020] The ongoing social distancing drive and restriction on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on people who survive on daily wages and living in extreme poverty. Millions in Bangladesh have already lost their livelihood and are facing difficulties in meeting their basic food necessities. Grameenphone and BRAC have come together now to stand beside and support those who have been most affected by COVID-19; together they have also launched the ‘Dakche Amar Desh’ initiative to invite all to join this cause.
The initiative was announced today at a press conference through video conferencing where Grameenphone CEO, Yasir Azman, BRAC Executive Director, Asif Saleh, BRAC Communication, and Outreach Director, Moutushi Kabir, Grameenophone Sustainability Project Lead M. Hafizur Rahman Khan were present and Khairul Basher, Head of Communications Grameenphone moderated the session.
The Government, along with many non-governmental and private sector organizations, have come forward with supportive interventions. Still, for the nation to prevail, it requires mass scale support from both individuals and institutions. A nationwide survey by BRAC among 2,675 low-income people in 64 districts reveals that 14 percent of low-income families do not have food at home. Due to the general holidays and lockdowns to enforce social distancing measures, 72 percent of the respondents reported job loss or reduced work opportunities.
Hence, “Dakche Amar Desh” will also serve as a solidarity platform and call to action for public fundraising and institutional contribution behind the cause.
Grameenphone will join with BDT 15 crore to BRAC’s emergency food assistance fund, which will help BRAC to reach 100,000 affected families. Each family will receive BDT 1500 for two weeks’ essential food supplies.
With regards to the ‘Dakche Amar Desh’ initiative, Grameenphone CEO, Yasir Azman said, “This is a global crisis. This is a time all in the public-private sector need to come together to tackle the upheaval of COVID-19. We have been from the very beginning there to collaborate with different public and private entities so that we can be stronger together and can create a positive impact in the society as an outcome of our joint efforts. While Grameenphone joins BRAC today to support 100,000 affected families, I request all individuals/enterprises who can afford to join in this program ‘Dakche Amar Desh’, or the other ones initiated by different entities or Government. Together we can reach maximum people who really need help in this tough time. Apart from this initiative, Grameenphone shall continue working with DG Health, a2i, BTRC, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF to support the Government during this pandemic outbreak of COVID-19.”
Yasir Azman added, “We would again like to thank every doctor, every member of Law Enforcement Agencies, Army, volunteers, and our colleagues who are out there risking their lives to support the nation. This is a resilient nation full of vigor and courage. We proved it before, and we will prove it in the days to come.
Regarding this, Asif Saleh, Executive Director, BRAC, said, “This is a humanitarian crisis, not just a health pandemic. Our country needs us now, more than ever. BRAC has mobilised the entire organisation from the onset with over 100,000 field staff, health workers, and volunteers on the ground. We are actively supporting the Government with capacity building and essential skills, public health awareness, PPE supplies, along with emergency cash assistance to people in need.”
“We have already committed and mobilised BDT 30 crore to support 200,000 families. The generous support from Grameenphone will enable us to scale up further. BRAC will continue to prioritise the most vulnerable - the elderly, 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,” he added.
Individuals and institutions may join this cause by sending assistance through;
· Bank Account Name: BRAC
· Number: 150120-2316474001
· name: BRAC BANK
· Gulshan 1, Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka
. bKash number: 01730321765
Head of External Communications
About Grameenphone Ltd.
Grameenphone, part of the Telenor Group, is a leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh with more than 76 million subscribers. Since its inception in 1997, Grameenphone has built the largest cellular network in the country, covering nearly 95 percent of the country's population. With its brand promise to enable customers to “Go beyond”, Grameenphone seeks to help customers get the full benefit of mobile data and voice services and provide Internet For All. Grameenphone is listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange. www.grameenphone.com: www.facebook.com/grameenphone