Despite being in large numbers, struggles are in abundance among the Bangladeshis in Oman
Played and favorite within the South Asian communities, cricket is still to gain mass following in Oman.
The governing body of the sport in the country, Oman Cricket Board, became an Affiliate Member of the International Cricket Council in 2000, and gained Associate status in 2014.
The national side have played matches at Twenty20 International level and in April 2019 achieved ODI status.
This however, did not matter to the ICC and host country of the World Cup 2021 – India – as it was decided to let this middle-eastern country host Group B matches of the qualifying round.
This created the rare opportunity for the Bangladesh team to play cricket in Oman and give some happiness to the Bangladeshi citizens who are living in the country.
According to the latest data from the Oman government, Bangladeshi nationals continue to form the major chunk of the expatriate population in the Sultanate of Oman with about 5.47 lakh workers.
The total number of Bangladeshis in Oman is over 700,000 as there are also family members and workers without Iqama, a residence permit issued to expatriates.
Population of Indian nationals in Oman stand at second highest with 689,600, and Pakistanis at number three with 232,426.
Despite being in large numbers, struggles are in abundance among the Bangladeshis in Oman, particularly for those involved in ground level jobs, like construction labor and similar works.
Chattogram Samity in Oman is considered the most vocal social organization for the Bangladesh community in the country.
The non-political organization operating for six years now has formed as a one-stop support for the Bangladeshis struggling in Oman.
According to Chattogram Samity president Yaseen Chowdhury, challenges have only surged since the Covid-19 pandemic and that they are in dire need of support from the authorities in Bangladesh.
“The biggest achievement for the organization over the years is that it has been able to gain the trust among the people. The organization is named after Chattogram but it is an association representing all Bangladeshi nationals in Oman,” said Yaseen to Dhaka Tribune Monday.
Chattogram Samity prioritizes three major issues among the low earning Bangladeshis in Oman – financial support to those in need, medical support and the biggest challenge – sending the dead body of a Bangladeshi national back home.
The organization also comes in help to Bangladesh School – a school for Bangladeshi nationals settled in Oman.
The school has five branches across Oman.
“These are only a few of the many charitable and social works of the organization. We strongly believe a little support from the concerned authority will ease the struggle of Bangladeshis in Oman. We are a non-profit organization. The finance for the operation comes as donation from the members and other sources, for which there is always a financial limit,” said Yaseen, who availed the NRB-CIP status by sending the highest amount of remittance to the country.
According to the organization, the biggest challenge perhaps is sending a dead body of a Bangladeshi back home, particularly of those engaged in ground level jobs with small earning.
It requires Tk1 lakh to send a corpse to Bangladesh from Oman by air, which many families struggle to afford.
The waiver support that would come from the authority has been long lifted.
“There is a lot of work to be done but there is financial limitation. I would like to take the opportunity to get attention of the concerned authority through Dhaka Tribune to please extend support towards the Bangladeshis living in Oman,” Yaseen explained.
The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment has been praised for delivering financial support to the Bangladeshi expats across the world.
But in Oman the general feeling among the Bangladeshis is that not enough support has come their way compared to the size of the population.
The Bangladeshis in Oman also believe direct talk with the highest level of the authority would allow them to express their issues and minimize the daily struggles.
Oman has been one country with Bangladeshi citizens where neither the President nor the Prime Minister has toured in the last 40 years.