Ashrayan projects become boon for homeless families

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 By Dr Aynal Haque

RAJSHAHI, April 12, 2018 (BSS)-Tahera Begum, 55, a widow, has brought happiness in life with her own income. Now, she runs her family by selling own cow’s milk.

“After my husband’s die around 10 years back, I used to begging. I had to pass night on footpath or railway platform as there was no house to live,” said Tahera in a chocked voice.

At present, a room in Haragram Ashrayan Project in the city has ensured her a happy life.

At the preliminary stage, she was given monetary support for feeding. She got a three-month life-skill development training after getting into the room.

She also enjoys micro-credit facilities inspiring her to rear cow and poultry birds.

Monwar Hossain, 38, a farmer of Jhikra Thakurjhi Ashrayan Project in Bagmara Upazila, said he along with other marginal people is farming fish and vegetables on a cooperative basis.

Hossain said there are four ponds in the project where fish is cultivated under cooperative system. The poor and destitute people are happy getting shelter there, he added.

Zakia Begum, a housewife in the same area, said they have vegetables and poultry farming around their houses. She also said pure drinking water is also made available there for 50 households in the project area.

Jahanara Begum, another housewife, said she and her family members used to live on the bank of a river before getting settler in the project area.

“Now the government has given us a shelter. We are cultivating vegetables as well as rearing poultry. Our children can continue their studies at home without any hassle as electricity is available here. May Allah bless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government,” she said in an emotion-chocked voice.

Chairman of Bagmara Upazila Parishad Jakirul Islam Santu said the genuine landless, ultra poor and shelter less people have got accommodation facilities under the project.

“Once we lived under a shed on the roadside in Baganpara area. Now, we have got a permanent house to live,” said Shelekha Begum, 45, a housewife of Halidagachhi Project under Charghat Upazila.

Her eyes were filled with tears when she was recalling her earlier hardships.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the ‘Halidagachhi Ashrayan Project II’ on February 8, 2014, which has already become popular among landless people of the upazila.

In 1997, Awami League government had launched the Ashrayan project. Thereafter, the government has launched the second phase of the project.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Sabet Ali said 1,375 homeless families were rehabilitated under 22 schemes in different areas of the district in the two phases.

He said the Ashrayan Project has not only given shelters to the poor families, but also created opportunities for the self-employment besides providing health services, sanitation, drinking water and education for children.