Power cuts, load-sheddings are hurting rural freelancers
Not too long ago, freelancing was deemed an exciting career prospect for thousands of skilled Bangladeshi youths. The rapid digitalisation of the country, combined with a rising number of skilled, educated, but unemployed workforce—and consistently low market wages—contributed to a freelancing boom in Bangladesh over the last decade. Statistics paint a happy picture too. The Bangladesh Freelancing Development Society (BFDS) sources state that there are at least 10,50,000 active freelancers in the country, although unofficial numbers put that figure at a much higher estimate. According to a Payoneer study, Bangladesh was also the 8th largest exporter of online labour in 2019 and consistently ranks as one of the top countries preferred by employers. But despite the conditions working out to their apparent advantage, rural freelancers in Bangladesh still remain one of the least supported communities. Lack of appropriate payment gateways, struggles in availing seamless banking services, and the general lack of recognition—all add up to a freelancer`s woes. Now with the global energy crisis and supply shortage, the reality on the ground is grimmer than ever before.