Last year, Hurricane Dorian brought massive destruction to The Bahamas. The damage was unlike anything the islands had ever witnessed before, leaving around 70,000 Bahamians homeless. Although much of the Bahamian infrastructure is leveled, resilient islanders were quick to begin reestablishing their livelihoods. Now the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, slicing through The Bahamas’ tourism economic sectors. Paired with the global shortage on toiletries and PPE, the citizens of these popular vacation islands are withstanding two pandemics; fortunately, however, local charities have stepped in a major way. Here are three Bahamian charities providing life-saving aid through these times of struggle.
3 Bahamian Charities Combating COVID-19
- The Dignified Project: People living in poverty around the world already struggled to obtain supplies and health services. Now that stores and public transports are closed due to natural disasters and the virus, combined with rising prices and economic uncertainty, the impoverished are facing even greater hurdles. But imagine a massive shortage of essential items that help manage the natural disposition of the body. No, not toilet paper. Think more on the lines of tampons. It’s called period poverty. One major, yet underrated stifle for the economic development of menstruating women is the lack of access to hygiene products that help manage menstrual health. The Dignified Project is a nonprofit organization that provides young girls with feminine hygiene products. Not only do they provide these essential items for free, but they also educate young girls in The Bahamas on building confidence, demonstrating body positivity and increasing awareness of health and “social concerns related to their biological development.” According to its Instagram page, The Dignified Project offers two kits: bras, underwear and other essential undergarments; soap and tampons or pads. Phillipa Dean, the initiative’s founder, reported that the organization has been distributing products more frequently due to heightened demand from COVID-19, which first ravaged the country on March 15.
- The Bahamas Light Industries Development Council (BLIDC): The Bahamas Light Industries Development Council (BLIDC) is an organization formed by and for Bahamian manufacturers and producers. The organization’s aim is to “promote and expand, and to preserve and protect light industries operating in the Bahamas.” In the past, members of the BLIDC, alongside other companies like bakeries and breweries, have rendered services to non-governmental organizations by aiding struggling households and communities. Although businesses like BLIDC are not fully performing manufacturing functions, these Bahamian charities still ensure access to food and beverages. Upon hearing about the recent shortage grits, a prominent food staple in Nassau, the BLIDC reached out to island partners in search of resources. In addition to supporting local businesses, the BLIDC donated what was harvested to the Bahamas Feeding Network.
- Hands for Hunger: Volunteer drivers are delivering food packages to Bahamians in need. According to its website, Hands for Hunger has delivered more than 150,000 pounds of food to 40 agencies since the dawn of COVID-19 in March including senior living homes, children’s homes and churches. As a result of this organization’s efforts, more than 2,100 Bahamians are being assisted bi-weekly with approximately 400 families having received food assistance over a three-month period.
Between natural disasters, a pandemic and pre-existing struggles with poverty, the Bahamas undoubtedly have several unique challenges left to work through. However, with continued support from passionate Bahamian charities, there is promise for the nation to repair itself in the near future.
– Katrina Robinson