Bangladesh is a dynamic country, and home to an entrepreneurial and resilient people.
Bangladesh currently faces three overlapping humanitarian emergencies.
A densely populated country, Bangladesh is experiencing a significant coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak across its eight divisions with the Delta variant now increasingly taking hold.
Situated in the Bengal Basin, most of Bangladesh is a flood plain with one third of the land covered in rivers, lakes or swamps. Annual flooding regularly displaces the country’s poorest people in the country of 167 million people. There is heightened concern regarding the seasonal flooding and cyclone impact and how this will affect vulnerable populations. Frequent and hard lockdowns add to the complexity of managing these crises.
And over 860,000 Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar District (in the southeast) are highly dependent on international aid.
Life in Bangladesh for the poorest of poor – the landless rural population and the illiterate – is extremely hard. With irregular incomes and no financial safety net, many families simply do not know where their next meal will come from.
Inadequate health care leaves many hindered by preventable diseases or accidents. A widespread lack of education renders a huge number of people completely disempowered – unable to develop their future or that of their nation.
Traditionally most Bangladeshis have lived rurally, working their own small farms or labouring for others. Widespread poverty and population growth has driven urbanisation in recent years, and Bangladesh’s economy has been expanding thanks to the country’s burgeoning manufacturing industries, and in particular, the garment industry. According to the government’s estimate, the pandemic has doubled poverty in Bangladesh, raising the percentage of the country’s ultra-poor from 10.5 percent of the population to 20.5 percent as of June 2020, setting back a decade of improvements.
Symbiosis works primarily in the Dhaka and Mymensingh subdivisions in the northern half of the country, providing pathways and support for the poorest of the poor to carve a new future with the support of a Symbiosis functional education, participation in savings groups, greater community engagement and local advocacy through community based organisations that form from savings groups, vocational training opportunities, access to eye and maternal healthcare and childhood education in some project areas where most required.