Catholic fundraising helps transform Bangladeshi communities

Manihur's husband Khalek with his new crutches

Manihur's husband Khalek with his new crutches

Source: CAFOD

Thanks to the amazing fundraising of the Catholic community across England and Wales in Lent 2019, CAFOD can support families in southern Bangladesh and around the world - and give them the tools to help lift themselves out of poverty.

This Lent, the CAFOD appeal shared the story of Mahinur and her family who live in southern Bangladesh.

Her community is bearing the brunt of climate change. Drought killed all the fish in Mahinur's river, meaning she can no longer rely on fishing to earn a living. And, this April, her village was in the path of the devastating Cyclone Fani.

"The cyclone shelter is about 10 minutes away, but its condition isn't very good after so many storms," said Mahinur. "So, we head for a neighbour's house, which is made of brick, and pray that this will protect us."

Thankfully, there were no major impacts in her village after Cyclone Fani - and CAFOD is working alongside local Church organisation Caritas Bangladesh who sends out early warnings, evacuates vulnerable people and manages shelter centres.

In addition to climate change, Mahinur also has to ensure the safety of her husband and son, who both have physical disabilities.

Her husband Khalek walks with difficulty and cannot work, and their son, Rabiul, aged 12, has learning difficulties - leaving Mahinur as the main carer and earner.

Using funds raised through the Lent 2019 Appeal, CAFOD provided Khalek with new crutches and he was encouraged to attend the local disability support group for advice on things like applying for government disability allowance.

Mahinur joined a CAFOD project, started in her village and the surrounding areas, to help vulnerable people cope with the changing climate and earn enough money to support themselves.

"I would like to learn more about looking after a cow and chickens," said Mahinur.

"Learning these new skills, I hope it will help me earn more so that I can grow more food and rear cattle and poultry.

"But my biggest dream is to try and open a shop across the river, selling tea, bananas, and biscuits. This would give me a steady income. This would make me more stable and hopeful."

Over the next three years, CAFOD is supporting 3,000 families across 15 villages in Bangladesh.

The project will give people training alongside seeds, ducks, chickens, goats and sheep, and will train people to make their own vermicompost - a process of using food waste and worms to make compost. And, there will be vocational training that will support people with disabilities.

"None of this would have been possible without the help of Catholic parishes, schools and individuals who fundraised and donated to support communities around the world," said Genevieve Cox, CAFOD's Community Fundraising Executive.

"These funds will not only help the people in Mahinur's village but families around the world who are living in poverty. Thank you - you are making a massive difference."

Tags: Bangladesh, CAFOD

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