Life goes on for Kurigram tank residents

Growing seasonal vegetables, raising sheep suitable for the region has become the key to changing the standard of living of the tank dwellers in Kurigram. A B

After surviving this year’s floods and erosion, families living in char areas are starting to rebuild their lives

Braving floods and erosion, residents of chars areas (river islands) are rebuilding their lives in northern Kurigram district through income-generating and social awareness programs.

Brahmaputra, Dharala, Teesta are the main among the 16 rivers that flow through this district where annual flooding and river erosion are common. Every year, hundreds of the marginal poor lose their land due to erosion and the flood.

As river erosion and flooding wash away homes, new land emerges from soil deposits which are called chars (sand bars). Homeless families often migrate to tanks for shelter and culture. Kurigram has 420, according to an official estimate.

During a recent visit to the Sardarpara village of Sadar upazila, a char from the Dharala river, the UNB reporter found 240 flood-devastated families rebuilding their lives by engaging in economic and social activities .

Residents of Malek and Dildar village said the road connecting the village to other parts broke down during the last flood, but locals fixed it with help from the union council and the individual help.

The local initiative made the road usable for vehicles and children can go to school again, they said.

Growing seasonal vegetables, raising sheep suitable for the region has become the key to changing the standard of living of the tank dwellers in Kurigram.

In addition to livelihoods, residents are made aware of legal and social rights and good governance that helps them become empowered and responsible citizens.

Much of the credit goes to the social development organization Friendship Bangladesh for supporting 720 families of 24 tanks in Chilmari, Rowmari and Sadar upazila on their journey towards this change.

Sumi Begum, another villager said: “We were recently trained in good governance where we learned about the harmful effects of domestic violence, early marriages, divorces, multiple marriages. She said they also now know the country’s constitution and parliament.

Whenever locals need legal support or have questions, the organization’s legal booth provides them with a free service, she said.

Babita Begum obtained a sheep under the ASD Project Transition Fund which has already given birth to three calves. “When I need the money, I can sell the animals and solve my problem. I feel relieved. “

“We used to buy fertilizer from the market, but now we make our own low cost organic fertilizer and have learned to use pheromone traps for insects,” said Ahad Ali, from the village. Her neighbors Rosna and Sazina Khatun echo the same sentiments.

To take advantage of different government facilities, they have learned to contact different offices now, the villagers said.

Dr Md Ashraful Islam Mallik, farmer and ASD project manager from Friendship Bangladesh, said that the perspective of tank dwellers changed a lot after receiving training on domestic violence and how to deal with it.

“Providing sheep to 240 families in the region saved them more in a short time,” said Dr Md Habibur Rahman, head of livestock in Sadar upazila.

All the sheep have been vaccinated and dewormed free of charge by the government, he said.

“As the char region is very suitable for sheep farming, this may be a viable option for people here to become self-sufficient while meeting their protein needs,” said the agent. breeding.

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