If Promila had not received Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh’s support through the project funded by the Abinta Kabir Foundation, her family would still be living in a small mud-walled house, still fearing the slightest change in weather, and having her children be deprived from a healthy and clean environment.
Promila Rani Das is a day labour working in a factory near her small village of Brahmongaon, Kaliganj, Gazipur. She lives with her husband Sandeepon Chandra Das, and two children Sampa Rani Das and Durjoy Chandra Das. They live a simple life on a very limited income. Promila’s husband has a small fisheries business that he runs from Gazipur, where he often has to stay back. Their daughter Sampa is a student of Class 10 and son Durjoy studies in Class 6. Their house had been made of mud walls and a CI sheet roof. It was inadequate in many ways, but mostly it lacked the proper environment for a healthy lifestyle. There was little ventilation and it was dim and dark inside.
“We did not have a latrine or our own water source. The nearest water source was at least a 5 minutes’ walk, but the water itself was not that clean,” Sandeepon says. “Whenever we had to use the toilet, we used to go to the nearby shrubbery.” The house was old and it had multiple cracks. The roof had flown away on many occasions whenever storms would hit with strong winds, especially during the early seasons of “Boishakh” (first month of the Bengali calendar). Promila and her husband had been aware of the support NGOs were providing to people like them living on minimal income who needed assistance with improving their housing conditions.
They contacted the local CBO office and found out all the details pertaining to the application process. They soon applied, and after all the processing was complete, they received news of being selected. The news could not have come at a better time. Just a few days later, a storm had blown away their roof. Abinta Kabir Foundation’s donation towards the cause of providing a house, latrine and tube-well to 12 impoverished families allowed Promila and her family a chance at a new life.
The house not only gave them a place to live in, but it created an opportunity for them to contribute in the construction through providing their unskilled labour. Habitat’s volunteer program created an opportunity for youth with a tenacity for serving the society to be able to work alongside the homeowners, helping them and interacting to get to know about their hardships first-hand.
“Life is very different now,” says Sandeepon. “The most important difference is that we no longer have to feel worried about the house falling apart in a storm. Our children now have a much better environment to study and grow up in.”