BRAC Global COVID-19 Response

by BRAC USA
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BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
BRAC Global COVID-19 Response
Jahangir learning how to repair a mobile phone.
Jahangir learning how to repair a mobile phone.

Many families lost their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic had a greater impact on households with young people with disabilities. 

Molly is one of over 1.5 million young people with disabilities in Bangladesh. Her disability makes it impossible for her to walk. Though she is not enrolled in school, she dreams of being able to work and live an independent life. 

As Molly’s family’s savings dissipated during the COVID-19 lockdown, they consumed food from the stock of the small shop her father owned. He eventually fell into debt and was forced to close down the shop.

William & Marie Taylor School | CRP BANGLADESH

BRAC supports people with disabilities in Bangladesh through health, education, skills development, and more. When the pandemic hit, BRAC ensured that response efforts included all people--including those with disabilities. 

Through BRAC’s partnerships with local organizations,  Molly received 3,000 Bangladeshi taka, or about $35 USD in cash every month, and hygiene kits for her family. The cash transfer enabled her family to pay off loans and buy a sewing machine. “She knows how to sew clothes, and wants to [become] more skilled at it,” shared Molly’s family.

Jahangir, 15, who was born with a hearing and speech disability, grappled with understanding the extensive effects of the virus.

During the pandemic, his uncle, who he lives with, lost his only source of income, making it hard to provide for his own family.

BRAC’s door-to-door COVID-19 awareness campaign reached 35 million homes, including Jahangir’s, with life-saving information and hygiene kits that included soap and bleaching powder. 

Now, Jahangir understands the essential safety measures to take to prevent the spread of the virus. He also received cash support and skills training from BRAC, enabling him to start a business to earn a living and support his family.

A year after the pandemic, our staff found that people with disabilities around the world have in many cases been left behind from emergency support--but BRAC continues to ensure its response includes people with disabilities from the start. We appreciate your generous efforts in our promise to support families globally through the pandemic.

Learn more about BRAC’s COVID-19 response.

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Portrait of Matthew. Photo by Alison Wright.
Portrait of Matthew. Photo by Alison Wright.

Today, the world faces an unprecedented global food crisis as a result of COVID-19, conflict, and other crises that have compounded. According to the World Food Programme, the number of people facing, or at risk of, acute food insecurity has nearly tripled since prior to the pandemic. August 19 marked World Humanitarian Day, and to mark the occasion, BRAC is celebrating the resilience of smallholder farmers like Matthew who are growing nutritious food to help their families and communities thrive as the world continues to feel the looming impacts of the pandemic.

Matthew, 33, is a lead farmer in BRAC’s agriculture program in Liberia. BRAC’s learning-by-doing approach accelerated Matthew’s success by providing him the training and tools needed to be resilient against economic, climactic, and agricultural shocks.

In 2020, Matthew participated in a three-day agricultural training through BRAC. He learned how to plant in lines, how to mulch to keep soil moist and control weeds, and how to plant a raised nursery to grow seedlings. BRAC provided Matthew, along with another lead farmer and 40 other farmers, with everything they needed for success: money for land preparation, seeds, wheelbarrows, watering cans, buckets, and fertilizer, among other tools. 

“I have always been a farmer; I learned from my parents who were also farmers,” shared Matthew. “But my knowledge expanded when I did the three-day agricultural training through BRAC.” 

Equipped with tools and training, Matthew expanded his agricultural business, and he now has the money to send his five children to school, see doctors, and be fully taken care of. Amid a global food crisis, he is producing an abundance of healthy, local produce for both his family and community.

Educating his children is very important to Matthew — he often takes time after working in the fields to help them with their homework and reading. He has high ambitions for his children’s futures.

“I want my oldest son to be an engineer, my other son to be a doctor, and the girls to be lawyers – but I’d also like one of them to become a farmer so that our land will be taken care of,” he shared. Spending time reading with his children and helping them with homework in their rented, concrete home is the part of the day that Matthew cherishes most.

Matthew goes beyond educating himself and his children. He leads 20 farmers in his community, working with them to cultivate several acres of land together as a cooperative and providing additional training and support when farmers run into challenges. Together, they grow fields of ripening bitter ball squash, corn, cucumbers, peppers, and okra. 

BRAC provided some of the tools and training that Matthew and his cooperative are using to expand their farm, but his dedication to building a successful future is entirely self-supplied. He works long days between the work he does at home with the children and his time spent in the fields. He helps the children get ready for school in the morning, then walks five kilometers to the fields. While he works in the fields, his girlfriend helps sell my produce in the market. When he comes home around dinner time, he spends as much time with his children as he can.

Matthew’s work ethic is not a new trait. He had to step up from a young age after his father was killed in the first Civil War. 

“I learned how to take care of the home from my parents,” he shared. “I want to teach the same to my children.”

Though Matthew is no stranger to hardship, he is on the path to building a better life for himself and his family. Amid unprecedented global food crisis, he has built the resilience necessary to weather shocks and continue to provide for his family. 

COVID-19 and the worsening food crisis will continue to disproportionately impact families in the most vulnerable regions, but on World Humanitarian Day, BRAC remains committed to our long standing track record of responding to crises. Together, we can continue to meet immediate needs and build resilience for the future for those most marginalized by COVID-19 and food insecurity.

All photos by Alison Wright.

Matthew picks vegetables. Photo by Alison Wright.
Matthew picks vegetables. Photo by Alison Wright.
Matthew with his son. Photo by Alison Wright.
Matthew with his son. Photo by Alison Wright.

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Credit: Health, Nutrition & Population, BRAC
Credit: Health, Nutrition & Population, BRAC

The COVID-19 pandemic caused economic hardship globally, with millions losing their jobs. The pandemic had a particularly detrimental impact on those living in extreme poverty. Families around the world were forced to make adjustments as their livelihoods were threatened.

Ayesha, a young mother, lives in a slum neighborhood in Bangladesh and is the primary breadwinner of her household. But in May 2020, Ayesha lost her job as a maid due to the national COVID lockdown, making it difficult for her to afford food for her family. 

Because of the financial strain Ayesha was experiencing, she was also struggling to buy the masks that she needed whenever she left the house.

“I was using a one-time surgical mask that I bought from a shop for 10 taka ($0.12 dollars). I used to wash it and reuse it as I did not have enough money to buy a new mask every day.” 

BRAC began contracting local artisans to produce reusable masks in January 2021, and distributed them to over 18,000 people, including Ayesha. She received a package of three masks, which contained instructions on wearing and washing them properly. Now, Ayesha has a new job as a maid, and she wears her masks to work and at the market. 

BRAC is helping vulnerable families like Ayesha’s respond to the impacts of COVID-19 around the world. We are grateful for your support, which ensures that BRAC can deliver emergency support to affected communities and boost long-term resilience to help families build back better.

Read more about BRAC’s response to COVID-19

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Photo: Kamrul Hasan, BRAC, Bangladesh
Photo: Kamrul Hasan, BRAC, Bangladesh

In a year marked by immense challenges and daily triumphs, BRAC mobilized its global community to safely deliver lifesaving messages and prevent infections through mass public communications and door-to-door outreach. Throughout 2021, the BRAC family withstood tremendous challenges and came together to achieve remarkable progress.

As new waves of COVID-19 surged around the world, BRAC deployed tens of thousands of staff members, volunteers, and community health workers to deliver public health messages and prevent the spread of the virus. Together, they have reached more than 100 million people with lifesaving information since the start of the pandemic. 

As COVID-19 spread, people continued to face everyday health challenges. BRAC’s network of more than 50,000 community health workers in Bangladesh and beyond delivered lifesaving door-to-door care amid the pandemic, equipped with personal protective equipment and preventative measures like temperature checks to keep patients safe. 

Despite the tragedies we have faced, the achievements made to fight global poverty are possible because of supporters like you. Thank you for standing with us and working to leave no one behind.

Learn more about BRAC’s global response.

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As vaccination rates slowly rise, many countries around the world have begun to reopen. But in many parts of the Global South, limited access to vaccines and overstretched health care systems have led to a surge in new cases, largely due to the highly infectious Delta variant. 

In Bangladesh, despite precautions such as public awareness campaigns to encourage masking and readily available COVID-19 testing, the sharp rise in cases forced the Government to impose a strict new lockdown in late July after a major religious festival.

In early August, the Government of Bangladesh began a mass vaccination drive across the country, with the goal of vaccinating 80 percent of the population by 2022, or approximately 10 million people each month. To aid in this effort, BRAC is currently managing nine vaccination centers in Dhaka, and supporting more than 3,000 vaccination centers in rural areas across the country. As a result of these efforts, nearly 20,000 people have been vaccinated at BRAC-run vaccination centers, and nearly 1.6 million people have been vaccinated at BRAC-supported vaccination centers. 

In addition to supporting the rollout of the vaccine in Bangladesh, BRAC has also been a key partner with the Government of Bangladesh and other civil society organizations in a major initiative to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Through the partnership, more than 35,000 frontline volunteers and staff have distributed 7.4 million masks to communities in need. BRAC’s community health workers are also screening communities for COVID-19 through home visits and referring patients for testing. To date, more than 120,000 people have been screened for COVID-19, with more than 67,000 suspected cases identified and referred for testing and care. 

As COVID-19 and the Delta variant continue to spread in Bangladesh and beyond, the most vulnerable communities face health shocks, food insecurity, and extreme financial hardship caused by loss of income and livelihoods. We are grateful for your support, which ensures that BRAC can deliver emergency support to affected communities and boost long-term resilience to help families build back better.

Read more about BRAC’s COVID-19 response efforts.

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BRAC USA

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Meghan McLaughlin
New York, NY United States
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