MYMonashAlumni: Frontliner Story 12
My name is Sikander Bizenjo and I graduated from Monash in 2014 with a bachelor's degree.
As the COVID-19 outbreak unfolded, my friends and I, under the Global Shapers Community Karachi, started an initiative called Balochistan Youth Against Corona (BYAC). We started providing food supplies in some of the most remote parts of Pakistan during the lockdown. We are also providing protective equipment to doctors and other frontline staff who are most vulnerable in the same villages.
So far, we have provided food to over 8000 people in over 32 villages and rural settlements in Balochistan province of Pakistan and have given more than 350 protective kits to doctors.
Our project was featured by the national media in Pakistan, World Economic Forum and recently by the Australian Awards Pakistan.
I co-founded the campaign with another friend of mine, Ms Banari to provide food supplies and medical gear. To date, we have raised over MYR40,000 for this campaign. The Balochistan province in Pakistan is the most vulnerable when it comes to basic needs and they have become even more vulnerable since the lockdown was imposed. The latest report by the UNDP asserts that 7 out of 10 families in Balochistan are living in multi-dimensional poverty. Moreover, due to the rough and rigid geographical terrain, the province is home to some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Such that even many development aid organisations are unable to make their way there.
How we function:
We involved local volunteers and supporters who are familiar with the ground realities and dynamics. We have also received help from the government and other development agencies who wanted to contribute but had no means to reach those areas.
The country is going through one of the worst times in our history. Due to rampant poverty and daily wagers, we cannot even impose a strict lockdown; thus, making the situation more challenging. In such a situation, we believe everyone has to play a part.