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Introduction to Bangladesh  

With a population of 164.7 million, Bangladesh is one of the most populated countries in the world. A flat landscape gives away to beautiful yards of wheat, tea, rice and rivers. Cricket, farming, fish, poetry, singing and more comprise the country’s rich and diverse cultures and traditions. 

Considering its geographic location, Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone areas in the world where frequent cyclones and floods have killed thousands and impeded economic growth. These extreme weather events interfere with agriculture and farming, impacting the livelihoods of 74 million Bangladeshi farmers. 

Due to high poverty rates, frequent flooding events, and gender inequality, many Bangladeshis end up practicing negative coping strategies. One example is child marriage. Bangladesh has the fourth highest cases of child marriages globally, with 59% of girls married before the age of 18. 

Bangladesh also hosts the largest number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, amounting to 890,000 refugees. As a result, tensions between host and refugee populations are frequent as the high number of refugees puts pressure on the already strained economy.

Why do the people of Bangladesh need your support?  

For people across Bangladesh, life is incredibly challenging:

  • 20.5% of the population is living below the national poverty line of $1.90/day (Asian Development Bank, 2019) 
  • Bangladesh is home to over 38 million child brides, with 80% predicted to give birth before the age of 20 (UNICEF, 2020)
  • Only 40% of the population have access to proper sanitation facilities (WHO) 
  • It is estimated that by 2050, 1 in every 7 person in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change (IPCC, 2019)

Islamic Relief in Bangladesh  

Islamic Relief started its work in Bangladesh in 1991. Ever since, we have established a main office in Dhaka and carry out projects in 17 districts including Cox’s Bazar and Jamalpur. Our work in Bangladesh focuses on sustainable development, community empowerment, and emergency relief.

Through our 12 ongoing projects, Islamic Relief Canada aims to eliminate chronic levels of household poverty, build climate-resilient communities, improve access to safe water and sanitation, and tackle discrimination against women and girls, orphans, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

Currently, we are providing emergency relief in the form of food and essential non-food items to forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees, permanent shelters and wash facilities to individuals impacted by the fire in Cox’s Bazar and the Sylhet flash floods, and Covid-19 relief through medical supplies.

Our development projects tackle long standing issues including WASH, extreme poverty, child marriages and gender-based violence, prioritising the needs of women and children in order to empower them and their families to become less vulnerable to early marriage, child labour and sexual harassment.

One way Islamic Relief Canada is doing this is through our work in Rangpur. This project raises awareness about the harmful effects of early marriage in society, provides vulnerable families with financial support, and provides girls with skills training and counselling.

Your donations in action

Taslima is a 32 year old housewife of Anowar, and lives with her family in Dakpara village. In order to collect clean water, she treks multiple times throughout the day to a water supply located 200 metres away from her house. Nearby sanitation facilities are in poor conditions and have resulted in her family suffering from multiple accounts of diarrhoea, typhoid and jaundice. 

Shortly after assessing this community’s imminent needs, Islamic Relief Canada selected Hossen’s family among others to receive the construction of 200 shallow tube wells, 50 deep tube wells, and 250 household latrines. 

Anowar now takes part of a local committee formed to oversee the new WASH services and facilities, acting as his community’s main representative. In this new role, Anowar frequently checks his neighbourhood’s WASH facilities, holds discussions with local community members, and communicates any needs with our team on the ground. 

Taslima and Anowar express their gratitude, stating, 

“Nowadays our community is not affected by water borne disease. Now, safe water is within our reach. We hope that our community’s unity and goodwill will protect the facility.”

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