Northwestern Bangladesh - Par Bhangura, a little known village within Bhangura, a sub-district of Pabna, is home to some of the most enterprising people in the country. Many are unaware of the fact that Par Bhangura also happens to be the birthplace of the first Bangladeshi Ambassador to the United States, M Hossain Ali.
A woman’s handbag seemingly contains a world of mystery. Her phone, keys, wallet, some tissue to wipe the nose, a sanitary pad just in case, maybe sunglasses, and receipts from the supermarket. But what does one carry in a crisis?
This post is the first in a series shedding light on the early years of Bangladesh, and a man whose contributions were instrumental in the remarkable strides the country has made since then. The post has been translated after it originally appeared on Prothom Alo, Bangladesh's leading daily newspaper.
People stretched as far as I could see. Young, old and every age in between, all standing in lines for hours to receive food. What most shocked me was the number of children. There were just so many of them. So many hungry eyes.
Standing on a distant piece of land in the middle of the haor (wetlands) of Sunamganj in northwestern Bangladesh, a sea surrounds the school. The water stretches as far as the eyes can see, with a few patches of croplands peeking through the horizon. It is the only school in an area of eight square kilometers.
Chinta Didi just got a new, two-storied house. It costs less than USD 1,500 - and her neighbours built it for her. She has been partially blind since birth, and relies on the little income that her husband earns from working at a welding shop.
It is 5:30am in Kaliyakoir, Gazipur, and Nilufar Yasmin’s patients are waiting already outside, lined up beside a sign that says ‘BRAC Shasthya Shebika’. They are farmers and shopkeepers, and they have come to ‘Doctor Apa’ to get their daily dose of tuberculosis medicine before heading to work.
Jhuma’s home, a small mud house, stands alone on a little raised piece of land in the middle of a vast inland sea. She lives in the haor, a seemingly endless stretch of wetlands in Sunamganj in northern Bangladesh. Everything around her is covered by water. She cannot see land, as far as she looks, for more than half of the year. More children drop out from schools in these areas than anywhere else in the country. 20 million people live in the haor region that spreads across seven districts. Less than 1% finish high school.
The practice of child marriage adversely affects the lives of millions of girls in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, nearly one in every two girls is married before reaching their 18th birthday. The situation is worse in Bangladesh where two out of every three women aged between 20 and 24 marry young.
What are some of the most effective innovations taking place in South Asia, the region most vulnerable to climate change? What do we know about strengthening livelihoods, financial and social protections to increase resilience for the poorest? This post is the fourth in a series of blogs that will share BRAC’s lessons on building and scaling resilience to climate change.