Caritas Bangladesh, the social action arm of the Catholic Church, has provided new homes to at least 80 families who were left homeless by typhoons that hit the country in recent months.
“Our diocese and Caritas have given support to internal migrants who live in difficult situations due to atmospheric changes,” said Bishop James Romen Boiragi of Khulna, who is also president of Caritas Bangladesh, in a report on Radio Veritas Asia.
He said the beneficiaries of the Caritas project are families who were displaced by the erosion of Pashur River due to recent typhoons.
The housing project is part of the disaster risk reduction project funded by Caritas Germany, said the bishop, adding that the Diocese of Khulna donated the land where the houses are built.
The displaced families used to live close to the river and the Sundarbans forest until cyclone Bulbul and Amphan devastated their communities early this year.
Daud Jibon Das, regional director of Caritas in Khulna, said Caritas programs “provided the knowledge … and [people] built their small houses” on the land donated by the Church.
“Poor people proved that if they get support in a proper way they can change their lives …. As development workers, we must recognize the inner power of the vulnerable poor people,” said Das.
“When I lived by the river, rainwater would enter my makeshift house,” said Shaktipada Sardar, 35, father of two and one of the beneficiaries of the project in a report on AsiaNews.
“On rainy days we couldn’t sleep and then the waters swept it away. Now we have a roof under which to live in a dignified way,” he said.
Daniel Biswas, a shoemaker, also lost his home seven months ago due to the erosion of the banks of the Pashur River.
“Without the help of [Bishop Boiragi] and Caritas, we could not have obtained the house where we live peacefully today even with the rain,” he said.
Of the 80 donated houses, 60 went to Christian families, said Bishop Boiragi.
Das said Caritas spent about US$350 for the construction of some houses, “but the people of the community also contributed with donations.”