Series on char life premieres on national television

New series premieres on RTV on life and Friendship’s interventions for the communities on deltaic river islands

January 19, 2022

The first episode in a TV series titled Chare Jibon Jemon, about life in the char (river island) areas aired today on the national television channel RTV in partnership with Friendship.

Sandbar island landscapes of the Brahmaputra, Jamuna, Teesta, Padma, Meghna and other major rivers in the country as well as the coastal areas are home to some 10% of Bangladesh’s population. These communities have historically been deprived of many vital services due to their detachment from the mainland and ever changing landscape.

The RTV series will investigate ways in which Friendship, the government, the community and other stakeholders are working to connect the char communities with the mainstream economy and society.

“There is a gulf between urban and rural societies, which we need to diminish,” said the Minister for Planning, MA Mannan (MP) during the first episode. “The char communities have not benefitted equally from the government’s development efforts because they are so difficult to access.”

“It is not possible to bring about real change through an isolated project,” said Runa Khan, founder and executive director of Friendship who has been working in the char regions for 20 years. “These communities need commitment. They need devotion.”

The minister praised Friendship’s work not only in the northern river islands but also the coastal areas in the south. He described visiting Friendship’s desalinisation plant, with crowds of people saying they had no other sources to clean water.

“The bottom line is none of us can achieve development alone,” he said. “The whole nation has to work unitedly and with clear intention.”

The programme also featured UNHCR representative to Bangladesh, Johannes van der Klaauw and members of the char community.

Today’s episode is the first of four episodes that will air every Wednesday at 4.15pm Bangladesh time (11.15am CET) weeks on RTV. The shows will be livestreamed on RTV’s Facebook page. The next three episodes will be about inclusive citizenship, child marriage and legal support.

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