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Field Ready in Bangladesh
Our journey in Bangladesh began in 2019, as the Rohingya refugee crisis intensified and we responded to the call for humanitarian aid.
In January 2020 we began working with local groups to produce accessible devices for physically challenged people. We also began producing our Surprise Soaps, transparent soaps with 3D-printed toys embedded inside to encourage children to wash their hands more often. The soaps help instill good handwashing practices which helps prevent disease transmission in the greater community.
We've since established several additional ground-breaking efforts in Bangladesh.
Protecting the Frontline
As part of our COVID-19 Response Protecting the Frontline program, we're matching frontline workers in Bangladesh who need personal protective equipment (PPE) with local manufacturers who make it - which helps first responders stay healthy and prevent disease spread. As of December 2021, we've produced nearly 75,000 face shields, safety goggles and individual hand sanitizers and distributed them to some 37 non-profit and healthcare organizations.
Soon we'll also provide training to Rohingya refugees to help them learn to make the Surprise Soaps, face masks and hand sanitizer for others in the camps; this will both increase the availability of PPE there and provide a much-needed income for displaced people.
Those who want to get, give or make PPE can go to makeitlocal.org to participate in the program.
We're also offering the Bangladesh- produced Better Bucket, which helps protect users from waterborne diseases.
We work with local factories to make the buckets there; this reduces costs, environmental stress and delivery time so the buckets get to users much more quickly.
Local manufacturing of the buckets can reduce the shipping cost by as much as 20 times, which means lower overall cost per unit.
In addition, we’re creating space for Bangladesh manufacturers to make other items for local NGOS, INGOs and hospitals to help support vulnerable populations at refugee settlements and their host communities.
This fall we began an exciting program in Cox’s Bazaar with the Norwegian Refugee Council and research support from MIT’s D-Lab to test using recycled waste plastic collected from the refugee camp to to offer safer and sturdier shelter for displaced people within the camps. If the methods prove successful, we hope to help spur local manufacturing of the items while providing income-producing opportunities for refugees.
Through all of our initiatives, we’re committed to using a sustainable approach to help save lives and ensure local economic empowerment.
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