WORKING WITH THE POOREST IN REMOTE AREAS OF BANGLADESH

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Friendship works in remote areas of northern Bangladesh, on the shifting river islands (known as Chars) of the Brahmaputra and Jamuna Rivers. We make it our priority to reach communities in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. The marginalised Char dwellers count among the most underprivileged communities in the world. We are also active in the southern coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal.

WHAT ARE THE CHARS?

Chars are midstream islands created from river sediment (some remain attached to the mainland). These islands are in a constant state of transformation and erosion. They are used as areas for settlement and cultivation and are an important resource in Bangladesh where land is scarce. But the constant threat of erosion, flooding, cyclones combined with the lack of a permanent infrastructure, a lack of services (hospitals, schools…) and their remote location, makes for a very vulnerable and difficult way of life. Char dwellers are regarded as poorer than citizens on the mainland. They are regularly forced to migrate to new homes due to natural disasters.

Settlement in the Chars

Rice paddy in the Chars

Settlement in the Chars

Where we operate

(click on the map above to magnify)

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High risk of natural disaster

Bangladesh frequently suffers from natural disasters. Trapped between the melting Himalayan glaciers to the north and the rising waters of the Indian Ocean to the south, the country’s inhabitants are slowly being submerged. More than half the country lies less than 6 meters above sea level making it one of the countries most affected by climate change. This leaves its inhabitants highly vulnerable to cyclones, tropical storms and flooding. The communities we support, count amongst the most underprivileged people in the world and are regularly forced to migrate to new homes due to natural disasters.

Flooding due to intense rainfall

Sandbags protect from floods

Erosion and landslides

“People lose their lives, their homes, even the very lands that they stand on and they have to migrate.”

Runa Khan, CEO of Friendship

CLIMATE CHANGE IN BANGLADESH

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Watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s full documentary about climate change in Bangladesh and see how it affects its inhabitants.