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Why Investing in Bangladesh Matters

“Slums are a high crime area, and the people live in darkness. Our responsibility is to bring them from the darkness to the light. It is a tough job.”

Hailed as the next “Asian Tiger” with a growing economy, there is, however, a looming threat over Bangladesh that has been years in the making.  

Climate Change Threatens Bangladesh’s Very Existence

Climate change is threatening the lives and futures of Bangladeshis. Over the 20 years that Zakat Foundation of America has been in Bangladesh, we have seen many cyclones, floods, and other environmental disasters that needed immediate emergency relief. NASA reports that this year alone, Bangladesh has seen a quarter of the country flooded. The flooding this year was the worst in a decade and the longest lasting since 1988.  

Bangladesh is one of the canaries in the coal mine known as climate change. As arctic ice melts, countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Grenada will see their countries’ low-lying land go underwater. Bangladesh is densely populated. Bangladeshis make up over 2% of the world’s population. Can you imagine the staggering number of climate change refugees that would be? 

In addition to all of this, UNICEF estimates that 19 million children in Bangladesh are under the threat of climate change.  

Young boys work in a greenhouse in Bangladesh. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

Climate Change Migration Means Danger and Deprivation

Bangladeshis are already on the move from flood zones. UNICEF reports that Bangladesh has 6 million climate migrants already, and more will soon follow.

These migrants are forced to move to bigger cities like Dhaka and are at severe risk for exploitation.

What Can We Do?

It is only by providing long-term humanitarian initiatives that we can prevent this. Five years into our work in Bangladesh, the GO Affairs Bureau Director from the Government of Bangladesh, Mr. Saiful Islam, said:

Slums are a high crime area, and the people live in darkness. Our responsibility is to bring them from the darkness to the light. It is a tough job. The government doesn’t have the capacity to reach out to these people. That is why organizations such as Zakat Foundation of America are needed.” 

Zakat Foundation has invested in programs such as orphan care, food security, emergency relief, and more in Bangladesh to address these issues.

A Zakat Foundation of America health professional works at a clinic in Bangladesh. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

While Bangladesh has made tremendous strides in improving its economy, 37 million Bangladeshis live in poverty. We must work to make Bangladesh more resilient to natural disasters. With disaster preparedness to floods and emergency relief, we can help Bangladesh mitigate the destruction of climate change. Join us in investing in the future of Bangladesh.

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