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🇧🇩 Bangladesh Floods Fundraiser

🇧🇩 Bangladesh Floods Fundraiser

Start Date

Sep 4, 2022

Deadline

Oct 2, 2022
Progress
0%
Last Update: September 27, 2022

Asking Amount

SGD 10000

Amount Left

SGD 6040

Nature of Need

Collaborative Fundraiser

*Click ‘Read More’ for more information on this listing, and visit our IG page for updates on funds raised*

In June 2022, heavy rainfall caused the worst floods in Bangladesh in more than a century – displacing nearly 4 million people and killing dozens of people and countless livestock. Some 94% of Bangladesh’s Sunamganj town and 84% of the surrounding Sylhet district submerged. Locals are facing damaged homes, lost livestock, a shortage of clean drinking water and a surge in sanitation-related diseases. We are fundraising for YouthNet for Climate Justice to support their infrastructure and community rebuilding efforts in Kurigram, one of the poorest areas in Bangladesh and most affected by the recent floods.

17The June 2022 floods were not a “natural” disaster. The floods are directly linked with the climate crises, cycles of poverty, and migrant justice. Please read on to learn more about the situation in Bangladesh, the work YouthNet for Climate Justice has been doing, and why we in Singapore should care and contribute (if you can).

 

Bangladesh – Ground Zero for Climate Change

Rising sea levels and increasingly powerful cyclones and floods attributed to climate change have devastated Bangladesh with increasing regularity and power – a prelude to the effects of climate change in the rest of the world. The climate crisis causes an average of 700,000 people in Bangladesh to be displaced each year. Sea level rise alone is expected to displace 1 in every 7 people in Bangladesh – up to 20 million people – by 2050. The climate crisis is one of the reasons that 25% of Bangladesh’s population is food insecure.

 

‘Made in Bangladesh’: Forced Migration and Cycles of Poverty

The climate crisis directly exacerbates poverty in Bangladesh. Among other effects, increasing salinity leads to crop failure and the vast loss of arable land. Poorer communities who live on the coast move inwards, causing a rural exodus from coasts to cities. Urban poverty is exacerbated in already overpopulated cities like Dhaka, where climate refugees live in squalid conditions. This urban poverty has set the stage for Bangladesh’s massive garments industry – world-famous for churning out garments at “competitive” (i.e. low) prices for global brands – especially fast- and ultra-fast fashion brands – like Ralph Lauren, Lululemon, Gap, SHEIN, H&M, Zara, Primark and Marks & Spencer. Despite disasters such as the 2013 Rana Plaza fire, abuses such as child labour, sexual abuse and dangerous working conditions continue to persist to match ever-increasing global demand. In 2020, global brands cancelled nearly USD 4 billion worth of garment orders, outsourcing the economic damage of COVID-19 to Bangladesh’s factory workers and deepening poverty cycles in Bangladesh. These phenomena directly lead to the migration of Bangladeshi men to places like Singapore, where they undertake relatively dangerous jobs for low wages. Singapore benefits indirectly from the climate crisis in Bangladesh, and directly from the cycles of poverty that produce this labour migration. 

 

What is Climate Injustice?

Bangladesh – like other developing countries – bears the brunt of the global climate crisis, despite emitting less than 0.35% of the world’s greenhouse gases. The average person in Bangladesh emits 0.5 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.  The average person in Singapore emits 8.40 metric tonnes of CO2 – nearly 17 times as much. Assisting climate-vulnerable developing countries to address the ravages of climate change is a matter of justice, not charity. Although Bangladeshi society has rallied together to become a leader in climate change adaptation and mitigation – so much so that its programmes are studied by other countries – this is ultimately of limited use without international justice and solidarity. Singapore is among the countries that builds its comfort and wealth from importing Bangladeshi labour – its garments and its working class men – and exporting climate change effects to Bangladesh.
We owe our solidarity to the people of Bangladesh suffering the effects of the climate crisis.

 

YouthNet for Climate Justice – Climate Advocacy and Disaster Response 

YouthNet for Climate Justice is a youth-led movement among primarily coastal populations in Bangladesh. Over time, it has become the largest network for climate advocacy in Bangladesh, and their strong network of activists regularly organises climate strikes. Since the current June 2022 disaster, YouthNet’s young volunteers are the ones working in the frontline to deal with the crisis. YouthNet has worked with other local grassroots partners to deliver emergency supplies to 5,545 families across Sylhet, Sunamganj, and Habiganj. They were in operation response in the remotest locations like Osmani Nagar, Bishwamvarpur, Tahirpur of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts to support during the flooding. They provided dry foods, safe drinking water, and oral saline to the flood affected communities. Nearly 500 sanitary napkins were distributed, as well. They also reached the isolated communities in Kurigram and Netrokona districts with safe shelter support. Currently, they are distributing tin sheets to construct new homes and toilets based on the urgency of  rehabilitation. However, due to the scale of the disaster, YouthNet’s work is limited by a shortage of funds. They raised about $6,500 out of their goal of $10,000 in their last fundraiser. You can read more from Humayra Ahmed, a YouthNet activist who was profiled in a recent Guardian article

We chose to support YouthNet based on our criteria that 1) they are a ground-up initiative by people affected by the floods for people affected by the floods; and 2) we are able to get direct verification of these initiatives. We spoke directly with the organisers to learn more about the current situation, their relief processes, and the people they are supporting through these funds. Funds from this fundraiser will go towards rebuilding efforts in Porar Char island  (within Kurigram), where YouthNet has already started work with 120 families to support rehabilitation support (Tin Sheet), enhance WASH (Tubewell, Toilet) services  and livelihood options like seeds, sewing machines, and livestock.  

We want to fundraise SGD 10,000 to assist their cause. This is based on YouthNet’s breakdown of intended expenses amounting to 8 lac Bangladeshi taka (approximately SGD $11,700), which you can view here, on Slide 8.

 

How to Contribute, and how will the money reach YouthNet?

If you’d like to contribute to rebuilding efforts in Kurigram you can donate to this collaborative, direct relief fundraiser. We are collecting contributions via a Singapore bank account dedicated to this fundraiser. You can contribute via the PayNow QR code below: If you face any issues or want to use a different payment method, email us at [email protected] or DM us on Instagram (@migrantmutualaid). We will provide Instagram story updates when we transfer funds to YouthNet, as well as on the relief efforts made possible by these funds.

Sources and further reading:

 

We read some brilliant resources when putting together this post. Please consider reading the pieces below: 

  1. Thaslima Begum, “ ‘Every year it gets worse’: on the frontline of the climate crisis in Bangladesh” (The Guardian, 5 July 2022)
  2. Monisha Ravisetti, “Climate crisis ravages Bangladesh as rich nations look away: ‘It’s already too late’” (CNET, 10 November 2021)
  3. Rajini Vaidyanathan, “Bangladesh Floods: ‘I have nothing left except my life’” (BBC, 28 June 2022)
  4. Kathleen Magramo, “7 million in Bangladesh need aid after ‘worst floods in memory,’ Red Cross says” (CNN, 29 June 2022)
  5. Pascal Hunt, “The Push for a Green New Deal in Bangladesh”, (The Diplomat, 20 August 2021)
  6. Jeremy Williams, “The Racial Violence of Climate Change” (Foreign Policy, 21 July 2021)
  7. Akram Hosen, “In Bangladesh, workers are not responsible for climate change but we are the ones losing everything because of it” (Equal Times, 9 December 2020)
  8. Marcin Szczepanski and others, “Bangladesh: A Country Underwater, a Culture on the Move” (Natural Resources Defense Council, 13 September 2018)
  9. Kyle Francis Davis and others, “A universal model for predicting human migration under climate change: examining future sea level rise in Bangladesh” Environmental Research Letters 2018:13(6) 064030
  10. Naimul Karim, “Bangladesh urged to stop worker abuse in garment industry (Reuters, March 2020) 
  11. Shams Rahman and Aswini Yadlapalli, “Years after the Rana Plaza tragedy, Bangladesh’s garment workers are still bottom of the pile” (The Conversation, 22 April 2021)
  12. Martje Theuws and others, “How garment brands contribute to low wages, long working hours, school dropout and child labour in Bangladesh” (Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen, July 2017)
  13. Rubana Huq, “Global brands must not abandon Bangladesh’s factory workers in the coronavirus crisis” (Washington Post, 18 April 2020) 
  14. Sushmita S. Preetha, Zyma Islam, “Is foul play the new normal? 1,931 brands bent on shifting $3.7b contagion losses to Bangladesh garment exporters; they turn a deaf ear to compliance, global outcry” (The Daily Star, 26 June 2020) 

Migrant Mutual Aid SG

Send your contribution to the coordinator Migrant Mutual Aid SG using the QR code above.

If you do not use PayLah!, contact Migrant Mutual Aid SG via email or DM to discuss other payment modes.

Contact Coordinator

MN (M16)

MN (M16)

Start Date

Sep 26, 2022

Deadline

Oct 26, 2022
Progress
0%
Last Update: September 27, 2022

Asking Amount

SGD 10816

Amount Left

SGD 9952

Nature of Need

Medical

‘MN’ is a 44 year old domestic helper who is undergoing treatment for Stage 3 breast cancer in the Philippines. She first discovered a lump in her right breast in October 2019 while working, and ignored it at first; she kept working until April 2022 when she went back to the Philippines to take care of her mother’s health.

While visiting, MN experienced severe bleeding from her breast and she was found collapsed in the toilet by her family. She was rushed to the hospital where her haemoglobin level was 57g/L (usually between 120-150 for women), and she needed 4-5 bags of blood transfusion. After a CT scan, mammograms, and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. MN has been receiving treatment in the Philippines since.

MN’s doctors advised her to begin chemo in the last week of July, and she has been attending chemotherapy sessions every 2 weeks. The frequency of these sessions will increase as she progresses in her treatment. Since April, MN has spent all of her savings on her hospital bills and daily expenses, and is currently depending on our team for support. We have sent MN $1,900 via the SSF thus far, and after discussing with her, have decided that a larger fundraiser would be more feasible going forward to support her needs.

MN had worked in Singapore for 6 years before recent events led her to return to the Philippines and her current health situation. Currently, she depends on her family for finances, and is unable to pay for her cancer treatment on her own. She supports a 10 year old son, and has aspirations to continue working as a domestic helper once she recovers from her cancer.

Domestic workers perform care work – work that is often underpaid and underappreciated. But who cares for the carer? In MN’s case, despite discovering her breast lump three years ago, she forgoed raising the issue to her employers. Workers in this position often live in silence about their medical conditions due to a number of reasons, including fear of termination and a lack of finances to seek treatment as most employers do not foot hospital bills that are not insurance-claimable. This puts workers in situations where they have to continue their care work for their employers while neglecting their own needs. We are relieved that MN is currently getting the medical support she needs, but no worker’s life chances should hang in the balance like this. While there are mandatory twice a year health checkups for domestic helpers, we have heard from some helpers that this is a basic checkup and is primarily to screen for pregnancies. What tangible, care-centric options do workers have when they face situation’s like MNs’? The first step to meaningfully tackling this is for more robust insurance coverage – even for diagnostic examinations – and stronger laws to protect workers who are ill from wrongful termination.

Send your contribution to the coordinator Jill using the QR code above.

If you do not use PayLah!, contact Jill via @jellymould to discuss other payment modes.

Please note that your PayLah! nickname will be reflected on the excel spreadsheet for accountability.

Contact Coordinator

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