To say it has been a struggle would be the understatement of the year. Besides the obvious issues, faced in many countries, families losing their income, schools being locked down etc (thanks to some amazing supporters we have been able to provide food packages and help the students with online schooling), still, the challenges just keep coming.
For the families we help, their development is severely suppressed by society, it always has been, especially for the women. Even when we develop new projects to help these suffering families, it seems that society tries its best to stop that too.
Even just to leave the country (Bangladesh) is extremely challenging for women, despite having all the right paperwork (of which there is a lot).
We recently tried to bring some female students (adults) to Dubai for internships, we made sure that all paperwork was in order but at the final gate, Bangladesh immigration would not let them leave - the reason given, "we don't believe you; how could YOU get such an opportunity?".
We understand that a level of protection is needed to help prevent human trafficking etc but if the paperwork is in order and there is no genuine reason for concern, then this should not happen, these humans have rights. To have an official stop them, because in his or her selfish or suppressive view the student doesn't deserve such an opportunity, is simply criminal in our view.
On that occasion somebody from MCF had to travel to Bangladesh and with the valuable help of the UAE embassy we made sure that these girls got on the plane to Dubai, where they gained a fantastic work experience. But without our help, they would have been stuck, suppressed, held down and simply treated as if they have done wrong or do not deserve anything good in life.
The challenges haven't ended, we have more projects, trying to bring single mums and their daughters to Dubai for work and amazing scholarship opportunities - the authorities in Bangladesh are making it impossible. Creating mistakes in thier documents making it impossible for them to travel and then refusing to correct it (or asking for ridiculous amounts of money to correct it).
Also, students wanting to take up university offers in Portugal have found it impossible, either for the same issues as above, or because education authorities' wont issue their certificate or because it has become virtually impossible to obtain their student visas for Portugal. Already before the procedure was so unfair for them, students have to travel to India to apply for the visa and wait up to 40 days for issuance, there is no solution in their home country. We had hoped and requested that with COVID19 making it virtually impossible to travel, there may be a better solution, even if its temporary, but no the Portugal Embassy or visa authorities insist they have to travel to India - obviously increasing the risk of them contracting COVID 19 (and of course potentially carrying it to Portugal), I really hope these people have a rethink and adapt like the rest of the world has.
We could go on, because the challenges have been countless, but the important thing to note is - WE WILL NOT GIVE UP!
Thank you so much for your valuable support to make things happen and to make changes in our World.