PRESS RELEASE: Libyan unrest displaces thousands of Bangladeshi migrant workers; BRAC appeals for humanitarian response

March 21, 2011 by

NEW YORK – March 18, 2011 – BRAC, the world’s largest development organization, has issued an urgent call for support to assist the thousands of Bangladeshis displaced from Libya due to the ongoing violence there. Donations will enable BRAC to provide supplemental emergency assistance to the returning migrants and their families, who often have no money, and now have no livelihood.

Nearly 70,000 Bangladeshi nationals were residing in Libya as migrant workers when violence erupted last month. As the conflict intensified, thousands fled to neighboring countries, where they face congested borders and overcrowded refugee camps and airports. Thus far, only 20,000 migrants have been able to return to Bangladesh – most of them heavily in debt and with no ready means of earning a living.

Founded in 1972 in Bangladesh by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC has been working to prevent trafficking and human rights abuses through its Safe Migration Facilitation Center. Now, at the request of the Government of Bangladesh and in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, BRAC is providing emergency food and creating a database of the returning migrant workers to link them with immediate relief and link them to future opportunities to start generating income for themselves and their families.

“Donor support is urgently needed for these displaced migrant workers. The trauma they have experienced in the last few weeks may only be the beginning for some who face financial quicksand upon their return. Following the Government’s lead, BRAC is supporting people during this challenging time, providing emergency relief now, and providing them with opportunities to earn a living upon their return to Bangladesh, cushioning the inevitable challenges they will face,” says Susan Davis, President & CEO of BRAC USA. She added that “100% of all donations will go directly to support these migrant workers.”

The unintended consequences of this unfolding tragedy in Libya underscore the evacuees’ desperation and the severe poverty they may face upon their return to Bangladesh; many have sold their homes and mortgaged their own lives for the opportunity to provide for their families by earning income overseas.

Supporters can donate on our website at http://donate.bracusa.org or text “BRAC” to 20222 to donate $10 to help Bangladeshi migrant workers fleeing violence in Libya*.

“Our struggle will not make it into the history books. We have to survive, somehow,” says Abdul Malek, a migrant worker attempting to return to Bangladesh. “Give us some work, so we can survive.”

Through Facebook and other means, Bangladeshis are volunteering and donating to assist these people who are important sources of remittances and the country’s economic strength. BRAC appeals for solidarity from all people to support those caught in Libya’s political struggle for democracy. “This is an opportunity for each person to make a difference and do something to help another in their hour of need,” added Ms. Davis.

About BRAC

BRAC is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC’s holistic approach aims to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and men to realize their potential. BRAC was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and today reaches more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia through its programs that address poverty by providing micro-loans, self-employment opportunities, health services, education and legal and human rights services.

*A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of BRAC USA, Inc. by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help.