By Mamun Islam
RANGPUR, Jan 9, 2016 (BSS) - 'Asrayan Prokalpo', one of the government's most successful projects, has ensured prosperity of some 2,160 landless, homeless and floating families here giving them new life through providing shelters and livelihoods.
The project beneficiary river eroded families have been leading meaningful life now after getting shelter, address and assistance to become self-reliant alleviating poverty through various income generation activities.
The rehabilitated people are living happily with peace at own homes, eating meals thrice daily, engaged in income-generation activities and their children going to schools to become worthy citizens for meaningful life in future.
The local government departments have been implementing comprehensive social safety-net activities under the project for mainstreaming the river-eroded rehabilitated people making them self- reliant through providing support, training and assistance.
The adult male-female members of the rehabilitated families are getting training for increasing awareness on various issues, expertise and human resources development to enable them becoming engaged with income-generation works.
According to officials, construction of 249 tin-shed barrack houses under 22 projects out of targeted 35 have been completed and 2,160 river-eroded floating families rehabilitated in all eight upazilas in the district since 1997.
Like other project beneficiaries, 90 rehabilitated families at Purbo Kochua-1 Asrayan Prokalpo in Nohali union of Gangachara upazila have set up a glaring example in changing fortune through income generation activities and achieving self- reliance.
Sources at Gangachara Upazila Cooperatives Office said all of the beneficiary families have been achieving continuous success following proper use of the training, government assistance and credit management under official supervision.
Talking to BSS, rehabilitated Nazrul Islam and his wife Bulbuli Begum said they got back new life and started dreaming of brighter future for children getting the easy-term microcredit under the government's comprehensive social safety-net programmes.
"We are making profits to raise our capital through farm activities, small- scale business, animal husbandry, poultry, tree plantation, vegetables and fruit farming at homesteads," said Alef Uddin and his wife Feroza Khatun.
The couple could not control emotion while narrating their miserable days passed for years amid uncertainty with their son Sirajul and daughter Arjuma Khatun on the lands of others and flood control embankments in the pasts.
"But, everything started changing when we got shelter at Purbo Kochua-1 Asrayan Prokalpo to begin new life and we are self-reliant now as the then government of Sheikh Hasina completed its construction during her previous 1996-2001 tenure," they said.
After rehabilitation and providing necessary training, Gangachara Upazila Cooperative Office formed a cooperative society and provided them with Taka 6,000 microcredit to every rehabilitated family.
"We first bought a heifer, opened grocery shop and completed loan re-payments through 45 weekly installments to get Taka 10,000 microcredit again when we took lease of seven decimal cultivable lands that give three crops annually," they said.
They again got Taka 15,000 cooperative microcredit for the third time, purchased a cow and made investment in shop to have their own assets worth over Taka 3.25 lakh now.
Similarly, rehabilitated Anwarul, Mariyam, Rana Mia, Nurul Amin, Mofizul, Sekel Banu, Abu Bakar and Dulali Begum at Chengmari-2 Asrayan Prokalpo said their houses were eroded 10-12 times making them landless and homeless in the pasts.
All of them are now happy and living in peace with livelihoods after getting shelters that ended miseries and uncertainty in our life. They have cows, goats, poultry birds, homestead garden, sanitary latrine, other facilities and own assets now.
Chairman of Nohali union Abul Kalam Azad Titul said Asrayan Prokalpo has effectively rehabilitated floating people and alleviated poverty through successful implementation of the government's comprehensive social safety-net programmes.