Bangladesh

Tanbir Hasan Shaikat

Television and the movie stories offered us many heroes who vowed their lives to serve the people but Tanbir Hasan is surely acting like one real-life humanitarian hero

In Bangladesh, as the COVID19 pandemic raged on, alongside the sufferings and standstills, lights of hope were also drawn in as the youth came forward to help those are in distress. Their endeavors illustrated how young humanitarian activists and volunteer groups can transform society by lending a hand to the poor and marginalized who barely could keep themselves fed amid the nationwide lockdown with little to no income and nowhere to turn for help.

Tanbir Hasan Shaikat, a student of Dhaka University, is one such individual who embraced the life of a humanitarian activist and caught mass attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other dorm dwellers in Dhaka University campus, Tanbir just could not be another obedient student leaving the campus bag and baggage when the virus was spreading. Rather, he thought of staying for those marginalized people and came to their aid.

From early April, Tanbir, along with a team of volunteers that he gathered, started providing two meals a day to the poor and marginal city dwellers for straight 116 days uninterruptedly around the DU campus. He collected donations and raised fund from his friends, teachers and other well wishers who were willing to donate to keep this work going. Tanbir’s good work eventually caught the attention of the mainstream politicians as well who came forward to contribute to this great initiative.

During this time, on an average, thousands of people received first hand food support from Tanbir and his team who has the university campus the last resort to feed the hunger for these people for free. Not only foods, Tanbir and his team arranged regular briefs on the COVID-19 health advisories for these people who have little to no source of credible information to fight off the virus. As the lockdown has been unbounded lately, a large number of the beneficiaries in this imitative have gradually been able to earn their daily breads again and they no longer needed these free meals.Meanwhile, the monsoon flood struck and submerged a large portion of Bangladesh, which has already affected the lives and property of the people vastly. When

Tanbir and his team got to know about the suffering of the flood-affected people, he decided to respond to yet another humanitarian call. Along with his friends and the left over fund from the food-aid initiative, Tanbir set his sail to east northern part of Bangladesh along with his teamin solidarity with the flood affected people. It had already been a matter of tough access to those flood affected areas but not tough enough to stop Tanbir and his fellow humanitarian workers.

After entering into Sunamganj, they tried to visit the most damaged areas around Sunamganj, an east northern district of Bangladesh. Before starting anything there, they had a dialogue with the local government authority and the people. Activating their initiatives for different camps, they started providing the flood affected people with cooked meals, water purification tablets, dry foods, and necessary medicines. They stayed there for two weeks and tried to lessen the flood impacts on the people as per their best capacity. When the flood situation of Sunamganj has started to improve a bit, Tanbir Hasan finally decided to take a break and return home to see his own mother after an almost 5 months, staying some hundred miles apart.

Television and the movie stories offered us many heroes who vowed their lives to serve the people but Tanbir Hasan is surely acting like one real-life humanitarian hero, who keeps on helping the vulnerable people who are most exposed to the crisis. There was high risk of getting infected himself too, but he is one of them who always finds helping others more important than self well being at all levels. Apart from everything he did, Tanbir become a real-life hero for the left-behind people in Bangladesh and symbol of hope and inspiration for the youth around the country.