“We heard the screams of people under the collapsed building...the screams of people looking for their loved ones. We’ve seen people waiting in the same spot for more than one week to hear news of their relatives. It is unbearable - the country has never seen something like this.”
-Md. Iqbal Ahmed, Muslim Aid Bangladesh
For many years now, Muslim Aid has been involved in Bangladesh charity work from the UK, providing essential humanitarian aid and working to relieve families from the devastating economic struggles they are facing.
The worst industrial accident the country has ever seen struck at a factory near Dhaka, with over 1,000 people killed in the incident and many thousands more injured. The people of Bangladesh have also been subjected to untold levels of suffering. A combination of natural disasters has left the country in widespread poverty, and many women and children have had to face unthinkable violence, exploitation and abuse, too.
The levels of poverty seen in Bangladesh are astonishing, and despite the progress that has been made in recent years to help the country out of economic depression, children are still facing a bleak future. Millions of families find themselves still living in abject poverty, suffering from malnourishment and frequently facing completely avoidable but ultimately life-threatening diseases.
With so many families on the poverty line due to the state of the economy in Bangladesh, it’s no surprise that so many children are suffering as a result. Even schools are facing difficulties, with just 84% of secondary schools having access to drinking water. 60% of those with drinking water facilities are non-functional, which leaves the vast majority of children without access to drinking water at a crucial stage in their lives.
Living without essential sustenance and water for extended periods of time has led to a situation where children are incredibly vulnerable. Forced to work in order to eat, many children are put in situations that nobody should ever have to face.
The number of families in Bangladesh who are suffering through no fault of their own has forced many vulnerable children out of school and vital education into work and early marriage.
Children who should be at school are finding themselves working jobs that put their lives at risk every day. There are also reports of many children and young Bangladeshi women, who are sadly at an increased risk of exploitation, being caught up in a cycle of violence, abuse and trafficking.
Bangladesh has a huge role to play in the global garment industry and has seen huge growth in garment factories in the country since the mid-1980s. A lot of Western retailers stock and sell clothes that have been made in the country, leading to an increased demand for factories.
On 24th April 2013, an eight-storey factory building, Rana Plaza, collapsed, killing upwards of 1,000 people and injuring approximately 2,500 more. Many thousands more had to be rescued but the devastating damage left thousands of families struggling to survive without their primary breadwinner. Declared the worst industrial accident that the country had ever seen, an official government inquiry was launched to discover the cause of the catastrophe that impacted so many Bangladeshi people.
Bangladesh has seen a significant increase in natural disasters latterly due to changes in the world’s climate. The country has been hit by cyclones, flash flooding and hurricanes and the threat of rising sea levels is also a concern. The combination of these unpredictable and devastating tragedies has left much of the country unable to recover, a fact which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and deprivation.
Muslim Aid collected charity donations here in the UK in order to get aid on the ground in Bangladesh. Our Emergency Appeal provided thousands with urgent first aid and hygiene kits, torches, food and water. We also helped provide medical supplies and wheelchairs, working with communities to help get families back up and running financially.
Our Muslim Aid Institute of Technology trained thousands of people in IT and other vocational courses that could help with electrical work, mechanics and computer application. The training provided much needed educational support to help get people back into work.
Our WASH project put facilities in place at 30 schools and repaired existing facilities at 26 further schools. It also taught 250 students across these schools how to educate their communities about the importance of good hygiene. This has benefitted over 75,000 students and 750 school teachers.
In addition, we signed an agreement with the Government of Bangladesh to provide over 400 primary schools with 93,000 High Energy Biscuits. These biscuits helped to provide essential vitamins to boost energy and concentration, helping students achieve their full potential.
Finally, we have worked with entrepreneurs looking for small loans to help start businesses that will rebuild families and communities.
Facing so many different issues, the people of Bangladesh have benefitted from charity from the UK in recent years and it is thanks to your donations that we have been able to help in the ways we have. We are working to change lives for good, giving hope to those living in poverty and protecting the futures of children just like yours.
Thank you for all your generous support for the people of Bangladesh. Charity work in the UK is ongoing in these areas, so if you can, please donate today.