As Bangladesh copes with the coronavirus outbreak with a shutdown, many daily wage earners have lost their sources of income. These marginalised and underserved groups – rickshaw pullers, technicians, plumbers, street vendors, and street food sellers – are barely getting by.
I approached the CEO of Sheba.xyz, an online marketplace consisting of 50,000 registered SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], to join hands with me in donating money to underprivileged people.
We decided to leverage the distribution network of Sheba.xyz to serve these Bangladeshi communities. The Daily Samakal, one of the most reputed Bangla newspapers with a nationwide influence, also came onboard.
The “Mission Save Bangladesh” platform came into being on 23 March 2020 and was joined by Ernst & Young in auditing the project to ensure transparency and authenticity.
The campaign provided groceries to underprivileged communities, financially supported small businesses, and conducted community-based activities such as disinfecting common public places and houses.
The Daily Star has concentrated on not just setting a standard for publishing authentic news, especially considering the pandemic, but also in constructing a model that encourages partners and advertisers to join hands with us, financially and strategically.
Renowned Bangladeshi cricketer Shakib Al Hasan promoted the initiative to garner a broader audience. We were able to provide for over 11,000 families within the first three months of launch.
“Mission Save Bangladesh” has amplified the role and reach of print media. During such trying times, publishers should ensure authentic news and encourage brands and partners to support each other to sustain the industry, and to help society.
Md. Tajdin Hassan is Head of Marketing at The Daily Star and an alumni of the exchange programme (IVLP)- U.S. State department. He is also the founding member of “Mission Save Bangladesh”.