Cyclone Amphan has officially hit the shores of Bangladesh. This storm has created an additional concern for the populations we support, on top of the extreme food insecurity they're dealing with as a result of COVID-19. While the communities we serve lie in northern Bangladesh and will not need to evacuate, they're expecting heavy rain accompanied by strong winds. This creates a dire situation for our families to survive. On top of their hunger, they'll be tasked with staying warm and dry. 

The pandemic has caused many of the poor in Bangladesh to lose their jobs and source of income, which inevitably leads to an inability to support their families and provide adequate food and other necessities. Our near term focus is on doing everything we can to mitigate this cascade of negative effects on our staff and the families we serve while we endure the pandemic’s impact on Bangladesh’s economy.

PSDI feels a sense of responsibility to help in every way we can and has developed this special appeal to encourage you to join us. We are concerned about our staff in Bangladesh and the families they serve. A group of our generous donors have offered to match donations made to this effort.

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world – a country about the size of the state of Illinois that holds half the population of the United States – around 170 million people. Social distancing is difficult, if not impossible. Health care systems are weak, particularly in rural areas where 80% of the population lives.

COVID-19 cases are going undetected or under-detected in Bangladesh due to the lack of tests and resources to collect this important data. The costs of face masks have dramatically escalated. And we have learned that a number of medical staff and members of the police have become infected due to a lack of PPE when the virus began.Experts are urging the world to prepare to lend extra support to low-income countries to address the pandemic.

Your donation is saving the life of these families, by providing the food and critical nutrition they'll need to weather this storm. 

  • $10 provides food for a family for 10 days

  • $25 provides food for a family for 1 month

  • $50 provides food for two family for 1 month

  • $100 provides food for four families for 1 month

Will you consider a gift to help this very vulnerable population? It may be the only way they can survive. Here are a few examples of the big difference that can be made through your support.

Here are a few specific examples that personalize the challenges we are trying to meet:

This is Sumon and his children. This photo was taken during happier times. He was working his way out of extreme poverty through his rickshaw business transporting people in the village where they lived. Now, he is out of business and his family is struggling to provide even the most basic needs of one or two meals per day. He was trying so hard to care for his family and making progress. We want Sumon to be able to provide for his family until he can regain his employment.

Meet Tahmina. Her husband worked at a garment factory while she cared for their two young sons. In 2018 he developed a heart condition. They sold everything they had to get him treatment in the city of Dhaka but after four months in the hospital he died. Tahmina has been working in other people’s homes to provide some food for her children, but it is not enough. The virus has made her situation even more difficult.

We introduced you to Karima in one of our recent newsletters. She had a chronic fever that couldn’t be treated due to the lack of healthcare in the area she lived. We were able to reopen a health care outreach center in that area where the Doctor was able to treat Karima with a simple medication that cost $2.50. Within two weeks, Karima was thriving again. Access to healthcare is more important than ever.

We aren’t waiting! As you see in this photo, our team in Bangladesh has already begun distributing food to the poor in the areas we serve. The sacks of food you see in the photo contain rice, beans, wheat, oil, soap and sugar that will last a typical family about five days.Malnutrition has been the single most critical health issue in Bangladesh even prior to the virus, and is more critical than ever as transportations systems have been shut down and food is more and more difficult to get for those living in rural areas.

Our social workers continue to put themselves at risk serving the poor in any way possible. Although their activities have been somewhat curtailed, they are doing what they can. They are the foundation of all the work we do in Bangladesh, working directly with the families to ensure their safety and successful uplift out of extreme poverty. We are so grateful for their commitment to our work.

This pandemic has brought our world closer together and has helped us realize how we truly are all connected. Thank you for considering serving those half a world away.