Aug 24

‘Lost Stock’ – A timely initiative

After her husband passed away, Nurani has been living in the city with her daughter and mother. While she works at an RMG factory, her mother looks after her only child. Life was going well for Nurani and her small family of three; she was earning enough. That is, until the pandemic hit hard. The factory where she worked was forced to reduce her salary, as well as of others, due to bulk cancellation of orders. For Nurani, feeding her family of three with her reduced salary became a monumental task and she struggled every day. This is when LostStock initiative came to the aid of Nurani and thousands more like her.

We at SAJIDA Foundation thank everyone who has bought a LostStock box. So far 114,000 weeks’ worth of support has been generated which enormously surpassed the expectations when we started the project.

Like many emerging-market countries, Bangladesh is greatly suffering due to COVID 19. Its once robust economy has dramatically slowed in recent months, and as per a study conducted by a group of local NGOs, concluded that every three out of five people in the country are at high risk of facing economic and health vulnerabilities. Due to a severe constriction of economic activity, more and more people are now facing extreme poverty.  A decline in exports of ready-made garments – which represent more than 80 percent of Bangladesh’s exports; have been strongly impacted by canceled orders.

Lost Stock has facilitated the purchase of these orders and a portion of the proceeds from the LostStock has been distributed directly to workers who have lost their jobs or are receiving lower wages. This enables workers to manage household expenses such as rent, food, and utility bills in the short-term economic relief and tide them over till they regain their livelihoods. SAJIDA’s field officers are going around residential communities and identifying garment workers who have lost their jobs and are in the most vulnerable condition. Many of these workers will receive at least 2 months of support to feed themselves and their families, all thanks to the purchase of LostStock boxes.

However, we understand that the needs of these garment workers are twofold. One is getting access to essentials to survive in the short term and the other is to regain access to a steady income through new jobs or starting small businesses. We need to work towards creating a sustainable system of support that will help the people overcome the current struggles and also prepare us for similar situations in the future.

We have been fighting at the frontline of this battle against COVID since the beginning of the pandemic and reached about 4 million people. All of SAJIDA’s programs shifted gears to align their activities with national efforts to combat Covid-19. While the country grappled with an impending lockdown, we had already conducted a preliminary risk assessment and developed an emergency action plan. We have converted our 50-bed hospital into a dedicated COVID isolation and treatment center. Alongside this, we set up portable hand washing stations at 589 project locations and distributed food and hygiene packages to more than 300,000 people.

We have disseminated awareness materials and displayed banners and stickers at thirty slums covering approximately 50,000 people. Awareness campaigns were also underway during this period at three RMG factories reaching approximately 25,000 people while a week-long awareness campaign had been held at public toilets in the city under SAJIDA’s management. More than 450,000 individuals have been made aware of health and hygiene practices through different mediums.

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