April 26, 2010

Bangladesh: sink or swim

By |26 April 2010|

The people of Mothurapur village in Bangladesh’s vast Sundarnbans forest depend on the mangroves for their livelihoods and for food. The communities there are poor and isolated. Children did not go to school, but instead worked in the forests collecting wood and honey. That was until Caritas Bangladesh built the Mothurapur Environment School in 2002. As well as providing a rounded education, the teachers included environment and climate change issues in the syllabus in addition to general curriculum. That’s why community people have named the school as ‘Environment School’. From July 2008, Caritas raised up school floors, cemented floors, set up water-sealed latrines, strengthened its pillars, repaired roofs and fences and set up rainwater harvesting tank for drinking water. When cyclone Alia hit, the school was not affected by the tidal surge due to its renovations. A total of 19 families along with their children, livestock’s and assets had taken shelter [...]

September 26, 2009

The Biofuels Debate

By |26 September 2009|

Hundreds of thousands of rickshaw drivers in Bangladesh survive on just a few dollars a day. Previously, they struggle to get by, but with prices for staple foods such as rice increasing by 45 percent  in one year according to the National Consumers' Association, that struggle has become a battle for survival. Caritas Germany in a report “Full Tanks, Empty Plates” says that food imports worldwide have risen 90 percent since 2000 and this has been caused by an increased demand for biofuels. Almost everything we eat can be transformed into fuel. With oil prices at an all time high, turning farms into producers of biofuels has become more attractive. The European Union (EU) and the United States are promoting this development in order to reduce their dependency on crude oil and natural gas. The EU wants to raise the quota of biofuels by 10 percent by 2020. In the United States, the production [...]

Caritas Bangladesh: Anup’s Story

By |26 September 2009|

Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest nations, is also the country most vulnerable to rises in sea-level. The population has already been severely affected by storm surges and catastrophic events in the past have caused damage 100 kilometres inland and the encroachment of the sea has salinated arable land.  It is hard to imagine what these catastrophes would be like with an accelerated increase in sea-level. Anup Biswas was facing a bleak future before he approached Caritas Bangladesh for help. He worked on a shrimp farm for US$36 a month. He had inherited a smallholding on which he farmed shrimp and some rice, but the high saline level meant lower harvests each year. He could no longer afford to look after his widowed mother. In 2006, Anup asked Caritas for help. As part of its mission to assist farmers in sustainable production and income generation, Caritas provided technical training to help Anup gain [...]

November 3, 2008

Stories of hope from Bangladesh

By |3 November 2008|

She is a sweet baby. All people in the neighbourhood love her. She is Sidora Folia. She was born in the fateful night of Sidr. Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, killing over 3,000 people, causing a billion dollars of destruction and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Previous storms had killed people in the hundreds of thousands and although the death toll of 3,000 was still too high it was much less than would have normally been expected for such a large cyclone. 140,000 died in 1991 in a similar storm. One of the factor was disaster preparedness projects carried out by aid agencies such as our national member Caritas Bangladesh. They’d provided training and built storm-proof centres for people to seek safety. Caritas Sidr Beneficiaries Baby Sidora Baby Sidr Jona Arati Rani Rupiya Rupia When Sidr hit, some people rushed to Caritas shelter-cum- primary School building situated at Kaninagar in Mongla upazila under Bagerhat district. As [...]