With their own funds, Red Crescent Society volunteers cook and distribute food among the destitute and poor
Hasan Shahid runs a tour and travel agency in Dhaka. He began volunteering for social work and helping less fortunate people soon after the shutdown started.
Hasan makes a list of poor and destitute people and distributes food to them. He sprays disinfectants at Covid-19 treating hospitals. Hasan, a senior youth Red Crescent volunteer, also takes part in awareness building campaigns.
Like him, more than one lakh Red Crescent volunteers do social work across the country. Around 20 volunteers in Dhaka deliver cooked meals to 500 people every day, while another 10 spray disinfectants at hospitals.
Red Crescent volunteers provide food to another 1,500 people per day outside the capital. The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has engaged its 68 countrywide units and has set up 10,179 basins across Bangladesh to encourage people to wash their hands.
"We do not depend on government or any non-government allocation," said Hasan Shahid, adding, "Instead, the volunteers fund the social works on their own."
He told The Business Standard, "We raised funds from our members when the lockdown began. We distributed leaflets and prepared a list of the destitute. We distribute food everyday according to the list."
Hasan said they cook and pack the meals themselves. "We cook the food giving hygiene the highest priority."
The Red Crescent Society supplies the food in their own vehicles. At the same time, they update the list of the poor and the destitute.
Red Crescent Society Director (youth and volunteer division) Imam Zafar Sikder said they have sprayed disinfectant at 262 hospitals including those dedicated for Covid-19 patients nearly 2,285 times between March 24 and April 26.
"We have been spaying disinfectant solutions at government and non-government offices, mosques, temples, law enforcer outposts, all Dhaka police stations, kitchen markets, public transportation and media outlets,"added Imam Zafar.
He said nearly 15,000 leaflets have been distributed in the last one month to raise awareness on the virus.
Red Crescent volunteers said they also maintain health safety protocols while keeping others safe.
Volunteer Mohammad Kamal told The Business Standard, "We, who spray disinfectants, are not staying with our families because we may end up contaminating our houses. We are temporarily staying at the Red Crescent office and will return home when the situation returns to normal."
Imam Zafar Sikder said, "All the volunteers have completed orientation and have been provided with personal protective equipment. We will coordinate with the government and continue our relief operation. The cooked meal distribution will continue throughout the Ramadan."