Building Resilience, Constructing Lives

12 Jul 2016

One of the beneficiaries of UNDP-ERF reconstructing his house at Jumkarchar in Kurigram Sadar. Photo: Santu Das/UNDP
Like every other day, Abdur Rashid and his family went to bed early knowing they would have to be up again in a few hours, ready for work. But as he fell asleep to the sloshing of the rain accompanied by the occasional rumbling of thunder, a strange feeling of unease played at the back of his mind. In the wee hours of the night, a dreaded roaring startled him and he sat up in bed. A thousand thoughts went through his head as he saw the barrage of water gush into his home, tearing through the flimsy fencing. He yelled for his family members to wake up, as he rushed towards the broken wall of the hut to try and hold off the water with his own body and whatever else he found near. Within a few seconds he realized his efforts were futile – there was no stopping this. He screamed for help frantically and waded to the other side of the hut to try and lift the bed, one of the very few possessions in their otherwise scant house. Soon he realized their efforts here would fall short too, as he saw the level of water increase rapidly … Read more

Re-writing the Future: Celebrating women leadership in the urban slums of Bangladesh

08 Mar 2016

Khadija Begum—an independent woman from an extremely poor family living in the urban slums of Gopalgonj—took over her new leadership role as a Councilor for Gopalganj Pourashava.  Khadija is the women in the middle wearing a grey scarf.Khadija Begum—an independent woman from an extremely poor family living in the urban slums of Gopalgonj—took over her new leadership role as a Councilor for Gopalganj Pourashava. Khadija is the women in the middle wearing a grey scarf.
“I am very excited that the people trusted me with community leadership! I am now working for the poor to prove myself worthy of their trust. I am focusing on key challenges in my community, such as eliminating violence against women, preventing early marriages, supporting disabilities and promoting children’s education. I am also a member of the Women Development Committee and I believe that unity among women can turn all challenges into opportunities.” Khadija succeeded over adversity through her hard work and determination. Key to realizing her potential was the availability of the right kind of support. Starting out as an extremely poor woman living in an urban slum that afforded no jobs or opportunities, she is now an elected councilor working to improve lives in the community and helping women and girls overcome poverty- and gender-based challenges in Bangladesh.   “I always wanted to become a leader, but I didn’t know how. Before joining the programme (Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction), I was only a labourer with a seven-year-old disabled daughter. There was no platform for my voice to be heard. My husband and I worked as cooks in the Bangabandhu college canteen to support the family. However, our daily earnings … Read more