A Multipurpose Flood Shelter
A multipurpose flood shelter has changed the lives of about a hundred poor and distressed women of Ghonapara village in Jamuna Char under Sirajganj Sadar upazila. The women have gotten a good chance to work at the flood shelter to earn additional money for their family. They are now keeping busy with embroidery and handicraft projects.
Ghonapara is one of the remote villages in the Jamuna shoal of Sirajganj Sadar upazila. About 5000 people were in need of a flood shelter. The people of the village have been struggling against river erosion and floods for years. They also urged the government several times to build a flood shelter in the village and to help them as well as their domestic animals, but to no effect. During the flood, the affected would take shelter on a high road, about two kilometers away from their village. Sometimes, most of the affected people would not agree to go there, leaving their homes and other necessities in fear that they would never get them back.
Realising the necessity of a flood shelter, CARE Bangladesh's Shouhardo programme came forward to establish one in the village. The organisation started work in mid 2008 and finished it in late 2008. The local NGO MMS also implemented the project, while LGED gave technical support.
The flood shelter was established, at a cost of about Tk 16.20 lakh, funded by USAID and Bangladesh Government. Contributions were made by Jahangir Alam and Hafizur Rahman of the village.
After implementing the flood shelter, the NGOs took initiative to give training on embroidery and handicrafts to about 100 distressed women in the village at the flood shelter premises. They also provided the women with some money to start the work and encouraged them to become good earners.
Suraiya Begum, 35, of Ghonapara village said, she is now earning Tk 1500 every month from this work. Kulsum Begum, 26, said she led a miserable life with her family due to very limited earning. Now, she is solvent enough to help her family out.
The officials of CARE Bangladesh Shouhardo programme and local NGO Manob Mukti Sangstha (MMS) said the flood shelter would be used as a training centre and factory for the local women in the dry season. When it flooded though, it would double up as a shelter.
About 300 people and their domestic animals have to take refuge at the flood shelter during flooding.
The NGO authorities also handed over responsibility of the flood shelter to the local committee for supervising on last June 22.
The NGOs also arranged a function at Ghonapara village, where Jamaat Ali Munshi, Vice Chairman of Sirajganj Sadar Upazila Parishad was chief guest and Mizanur Rahman Mizan, Chairman of Kalia Haripur Union presided over the event.
Moinul Islam Khan, Assistant Engineer of LGED, Monotosh Kumar Mondal, Technical Manager of CARE Bangladesh, Amir Hossian, Sushil Kumar Das, Programme Officer of Shouhardo, and Amir Hossain, Deputy Director of MMS were also present in the event.
At this event, responsibility for the flood shelter was handed over to a 13 member committee led by Kalia Horipur Union Parishad Charman Mizanur Rahman Mizan for supervision.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009