A forlorn Mokbul Boyati says, “I want my children to settle down in a better home..."
Nearing the end of his life at 65, Mokbul Boyati does not know when and how his family will be able to live in a decent house:
“I inherited 3 acres of land from my father. River erosion took all that away from me. Now I have 26 decimal homesteads and nothing to cultivate in. I look for day labour jobs, which is scarce in the islands because I have to compete with many labourers like myself. I can hardly keep my wife and 5 children properly and live with them in one room, which is my house.”
Since 1981, the Char Biswas has been reduced to 50% in mass. Other Chars arise in sight. So, although people move from one island to a nearby one, claiming a pitch of cultivable land is not easy. The locally powerful people interfere and claim land in new Chars long before the landless people even get there. As a result, community people don’t find any alternative livelihood scopes and resort to day-labour jobs or borrow fishing-nets under unfair contracts.
In order to improve access and quality to education, ActionAid in consultation with local partner, will work with local government to allocate government lands to these landless people. We will also introduce mid-day meal preparation at community school and establish a new school. For poor and marginalised people, we plan to create access to productive resources such as kitchen gardening, duck rearing, handicrafts etc. for ensuring food and explore alternative livelihood options for reducing unemployment.
ActionAid plan to increase women’s participation in household and community level decision-making processes. Basic literacy training and right awareness will build local capacity. Moreover, we will re-establish the linkages between available community-health services. Char Kajol and Char Biswas are highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Therefore, we will assist in the formation of volunteer groups and carry out ‘disaster drills’ to enhance disaster preparedness.