Action Amidst The Pandemic

Action Amidst The Pandemic

Summary of activities by Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement
(BCSM)

Since December 2019, the world has been struck massively by the destructive COVID 19 viruses. This virus has been so deadly that the whole world has stand still in the last year. All the countries in the world have been more or less affected by the virus. Bangladesh has been victim to its grasp as well. The first COVID 19 patient was found on 8th March 2020, in Bangladesh. After that the situation got worse and the country fell under a lock down state.

Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement, commonly known as BCSM, also fell victim to the pandemic. The movement activities started to lose its pace. Even though the members were all willing to support during this crisis moment, the condition was not favorable. Falling to the effects of the Pandemic condition, the members thought on helping the people in need and also to keep the movement activities going on. To accelerate the working of the movement, many former members came into support as well.

The members of Khulna BCSM first took the initiative to support the families in distress. They gathered some financial aid from the local community and bought some regular household commodities like rice, pulse, soap, potato, onion etc. for the people in need. They distributed the support to more than 3500 people in the time period between April to August 2020. Inspired by the action of Khulna BCSM, other Diocesan BCSM Teams worked in their locality by supporting the people in need. All together more than 10000 people were supported by BCSM directly or indirectly during this pandemic time.

Also, it is worth mentioning here that, BCSM not only worked for the distressed people, but also worked for Mother Nature as well. Responding to the Call of the Holy Papa, Pope Francis, BCSM wanted to take more active part than before in care for the common home. During the onset of monsoon season BCSM planted more than 5000 trees in different parts of the country. Also, this activity is going to be a continuous process from now on. This initiative by BCSM was supported by many local people and thus the nature loving mentality among people has been boosted.
Besides this, meetings were held online and thus the activities of the movement was still on the run. Online photography competition on the World Environment Day 2020 was held for the BCSM members. The competition covered the sectors of Nature, human and humanity and 3Rs.

An Online Christian Leadership and Capacity Building Training was held via zoom app from 6 to 8 September 2020. The training was conducted by Caritas development institute. 45 participants from all over the country took part in this training.

Besides, an online Magazine and online newsletter was published prior to the activities conducted by the team.
Even though the pandemic has made the world slower than ever, BCSM had run its activities quite smoothly online. But we hope, this condition won’t prevail and we all will be able to see each other once again enjoying the company of all. Hoping to have better days in the upcoming future in a COVID 19 free world.


Fraternity and Solidarity in the time of COVID-19

Fraternity and Solidarity in the time of COVID-19

By Neilan D’souza

Covid-19 has been a good teacher in helping us realise the needs of the people. At the time of
serious lockdown, almost every daily wage worker lost employment- the only source of their income.
Some lost their homes, unable to afford to stay; many suffered without food and many more suffered
either from the Corona virus or other health conditions due to lack of access to medical & health
care.

This pandemic situation made us realise that we are all the same regardless of our religion, culture,
customs whether rich or poor. The virus simply does not choose; it affected us all. It brought face to
face with some of the most basic questions in life. What are we here for? What have we done with
our lives? Who is truly important in our lives? What is it that we truly cherish? It connected us and
reminded us of who we are. It made us work together and build relationships with different
communities around us. It instilled kindness in our hearts to help one another and those who were
suffering.

The Pandemic has also stressed to make us realise how our greed has affected all of creation on
earth. It has shown us the importance of recognizing the true purpose of all Institutions,
Organisations, Governments and all other systems i.e. to serve human needs and purposes. Not just
of individuals but of all societies and of our common home as articulated in our religious and cultural
aspirations. This Pandemic has showed us a glimpse of what would happen if we continued to ignore
to care for our common home.

In this second issue of our E-Newsletter we invite you to join us in experiencing the action carried out
by Networks and Partners of All Forum amidst the Corona virus pandemic

COVID-19 : MESSAGE FROM NATURE

COVID-19 : MESSAGE FROM NATURE

On 17th November 2019, a Chinese person was confirmed suffering from Covid-19, a new Sars-like virus which was emerging in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. Now exactly a year later, Covid-19 has 63.9 million confirmed Cases, 1.48 million deaths world wide and is still counting2.

The Covid-19 pandemic, brought the world to a standstill and made us realise how important it is for us to take responsibility of our planet, people and creation at a whole. During the initial lock down period, we witnessed an immense drop in pollution figures, Natural bodies of water renewing themselves, Species of birds and animals returning to original habitats. A kind of normalcy returned to nature when humankind stepped off the industrial strain. But right now, many countries are facing the rise of the second wave of Covid-19 cases, while other countries haven’t been able to bring the initial surge in cases under control. In addition to this, Hurricanes and Typhoons in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Philippines have worsened the lives of millions of people during this pandemic.

Environmental experts and even UN’ environment chief, Inger Andersen has said that nature is sending us a message with the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis. There are many scientific proofs about the connection between the massive spread of virus with the environmental crisis. In October 2020, The Intergovernmental SciencePolicy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported that the same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. 3

Moreover during this critical period, we as human beings in many circumstances have failed to equip our health care systems with adequate skills and infrastructure. We have failed to design proper implementation plans for when the lockdown would be relaxed; have failed to take responsibility of low-income and suffering communities as their livelihoods worsened and have also failed to educate the masses on the long-term impacts of Covid-19. Amidst the pandemic we also witnessed unemployment grow to new heights. Poverty, Indifference, Racism, Casteism, Untouchability and Exploitation, have all grown in newer dimensions. Pope Francis in his encyclical letter the Laudato Si has stressed that the ecological crisis is indeed inseparable from the social crisis, that the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. “We are faced not with two separate crisis, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (N.139). Hence, looking at the current situation of our world, one can say that the world is in need of urgent transformation, both personal transformation of human being and profound social political change.

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

As one of the ways of adapting with the current pandemic situation. ALL Forum, keeping in mind the limitations on travel and large physical gatherings, has shifted our annual program AYA-ATF into smaller scale programs. For the upcoming year, ALL Forum aims to focus on Moving Schools, Online theological courses and E-newsletters as a way of communication, building capacities, fostering dialogue and expanding networks.

Therefore, in this first issue, we are inviting you to join us in reflecting the whole experience and journey in 2020, before taking the next steps of changes in order to build a better post Covid-19 world.