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The devastating ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis on families in Bangladesh

Tuesday, 28 July, 2020

Muid is a 16-year old young person from Bangladesh who has a physical disability and deafblindness. Thanks to a project funded by UK Aid Match (an initiative by the UK government), Sense International and our partners have been supporting Muid to access physiotherapy, speech-therapy and home based education. As a result of these support services, Muid who previously struggled to communicate and move has now learned how to walk independently and to express his needs to others. With the support of his home-based support team, Muid started to attend school and was making great progress. As a keen cricketer, his support team helped Muid to join the local wheelchair cricket team. His family were optimistic and felt Muid was starting to play a more active role in his local community. Muid was going from strength to strength. However, the onset of COVID-19 in Bangladesh has affected life in a multitude of ways, especially for those living in poverty.  

Muid, a young man, sitting down drawing a picture. He's smiling at the cameraThe government’s COVID-19 restrictions that resulted in the closure of schools has meant that Muid has started to lose some of the skills he had previously mastered in school. Muid’s family were dependent upon a single salary. Muid’s mother stayed at home to care for Muid whilst his father worked as a day labourer. The family have been hard-hit by the economic shocks brought about by the crisis. With lockdown being instated, Muid’s father had to stop working. As a result, the family have been struggling to access food. Sense International and our partners have supported Muid’s family to access the government issued emergency relief but the support fails to sufficiently meet the needs of a family of four. Furthermore, it is difficult to explain to Muid why his routine has been so dramatically changed. Muid is getting frustrated staying at home and not being able to go outside to play with his friends. Muid’s mother explains the reality their family is currently facing:

“We are four people living in a congested area surrounded by COVID-19 infected people. Days are passing whilst the anxiety of being infected continues to grow. My husband worked as a day labourer, now he cannot go out to work since lockdown started. We are depending upon relief from the government and others but this is not enough for us and we have not had any meat or fish since work has stopped. Schools are closed and no teacher contacted with us. Our son is becoming aggressive day by day and forgetting all the lessons he learned during school. If the situation continues, I do not think we will be sending him to school in future. We are now thinking about our survival, if we do not survive then what is the meaning of education, it will be of no use.”

As part of the new COVID response consortium projects funded by UK Aid, Sense International and partners will be providing vital support in the form of cash transfers to Muid’s family and hundreds of other families in a similar situation so they can buy basic necessities during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 20 September 2017