Food for Rohingya Refugees

GoFundMe is asking that I update the donors with the following info for complete transparency (the original story can be found when you scroll half way down):

An introduction:
My name is Aziz Iqbal and I am originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I moved here circa 2001, graduated from college, married an amazing woman (Hi Halima!) and live happily in Laurel, MD. I work at Navigant Consulting as an Engineer and Halima is an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Relationship to the Rohingya's:
My immediate family owns a small resort called Seagull Hotels (see attached photo) and we have been using the staff and kitchen to cook and deliver food to the Rohingya Refugees in Teknaf, a town just 40 miles from the hotel. As a family, we personally paid for a weeks worth of food with about 600 meals delivered daily at a cost of $1.37/meal. I am asking everyone here and on facebook to give $1.47 per meal to account for fluctuations in exchange rate and cost of raw materials.

Of the $1.37/meal, 4.5% or $0.061 (that's 6 cents) goes towards giving each of the 6 employees a small daily bonus for cooking, cleaning, transporting and distributing the foods to the refugees. For example, if we serve 600 meals, $36.6 (=600x $0.061) goes to the guys. Distributed 6 ways, this is $6.1 extra for an entire days work. Their base salary still comes from the hotel's revenue which the hotel donates and will continue to do so.

The truck, minivan and gas used to carry the meals, water and 6 men to the camps together costs $43.2 to rent for the whole day. If we serve 600 meals, this comes out to 7.2cents or 5.2% of the $1.37/meal.

Every last of the remaining penny goes into buying food. So for those keeping track, of the $1.37/meal, $1.23 goes into purchasing ingredients. That's over 90%.

As we wrap up our first week, we have noticed a lot of infants at each of the sites visited. So starting yesterday we have also been taking 120 packets of milk. Thus far, the hotel and our family has absorbed this cost (which isn't really sustainable) . As we receive more funds, the goal is to increase this amount and keep it going as long as possible.

Transfer of Funds:
The funds I have received in my Venmo, Paypal and GoFundme account will be transferred to my personal Wells Fargo bank account and then wire transferred to Seagull Hotel's. This is the same way I paid for the first week and it is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get the funds to exactly where its needed.

Just so that everyone is on the same page, this is not a formal non-profit organization and is certainly not a 501c3. Its simply a small initiative taken on by a handful of people to help feed a few who will otherwise definitely go hungry.

Every delivery is fraught with overhead expenses that are being funded from our own personal savings. This will continue to be our contribution to the program until our wallets have run dry.

Please follow me on Facebook for more frequent updates:

Original story from Facebook:
My family runs a small resort called Seagull Hotels in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh - roughly 70 km (~40 miles) from where Rohingya refugees have been crossing the Naf river into Bangladesh. The resort has seen its heyday but remains equipped with 2 fully staffed kitchens capable of feeding roughly three thousand people at a moments notice.

Won't go too much into whats happening on the ground because I assume (and hope) you are all watching the news. The situation on the ground is dire with over 300,000 refugees having made their way into Bangladesh in the past month alone. Imagine over a quarter million people descending upon a small town. There is not a country on earth equipped to deal with such a scenario, much less Bangladesh.

The initial goal was simply to feed as many as our resources would allow for as long as possible. For the past week, we have been doing just that. Employees at the hotel have been abandoning their posts to band together and cook Pilaf/Kichdi for over 600 people (someone tag Jeremy McLellan), load it all up on trucks/minivans and personally distribute them at camps everyday. There are no middlemen, no organizational overheads. Its just them.

The week long effort has shown that we can get a single meal and a bottle of water down to $1.47 including transportation, packaging and distribution. Since hardly anyone took me up on my offer to match their donations last time around - I have used that fund to get the first 2000 meals going. I implore you to join in on this grassroots initiative. Over 90% of what you give will go into buying the ingredients/groceries.

1) I am not looking for large donations, but wont say no  :). Sponsor a couple of meals but do your best to spread this around. I have faith that between 200 active friends on Facebook, this will have a meaningful impact. While Venmo is preferred since there are no transaction fees, I can also take Paypal or this GoFundme. Use [email redacted].edu if the links do not work. 

2) If you need proof of your donations being squandered  (jk!), I can continue to update my facebook status with pictures and videos. The pictures attached were taken by my uncle last week.

3) I'm going to go and tag an annoying number of friends now. You should do the same.

UPDATE: I forgot to note that after our first few visits, we have decided to add 150 bottles of baby formula and milk with each delivery. Not much but getting there.

 GoFundMe Guarantee

Only donations on our platform are protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee.


 See top
  • Saima Manzoor 
    • $200 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • shehla iftekhar 
    • $520 
    • 41 mos
  • Mia Iftekhar 
    • $250 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 41 mos
See all


Aziz Iqbal 
Laurel, MD
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more