Purpose of Narijibon Blog

Nari Jibon Project seeks to increase our students’ and staffs’ abilities through different ways: classes, practice, computers, internet, and now the Narijibon Blog. Readers and writers (our students & staff) of the Blog will both learn about our lives, culture, Nature, activities of people in Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon Project.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nari Jibon blog training on video and digital camera

Yesterday (Friday) Nari Jibon project arranged training on video & digital camera. The trainer was Ms. Taslima Akter. Two work study students (shirin sultana & Mahfuza parul Tania), 3 old blogger (Zannat Ara Amzad, Jesmin Ara amzad & Kamrun Nahar Pushpo) and 3 new blogger (Salma Akter, Shahida Islam Mony & Khadiza Khatun) and 3 staff & blogger (MG Rabany Sujon, Shamima Akter and Afroza Akter Kajol) attended the training program.

"Trainer Taslima is discussing about utilities
digital camera and video camera."

"Taslima is teaching the bloggers how
to take picture and operate the digital camera."

Ms. Taslima briefed the new old bloggers about video blogging and then she train to students how to take pictures, how to operate digital camera, taking picture and video in different zoom, how to download the picture from memory card and camera and also capture the video from tape. After completing this training blogger expressed their feelings:
Mahfuza parul Tania said: “I am very happy to join here and also proud that I m working here as work study student. Today is my great day because I learned many new things and uses new technology. I want to apply my experience in blogging activities and also want to learn more.”

"Ms. Taslima is teaching the bloggers how to take video"

Zannat Ara Amzad said: “I am a blogger and I feel proud when I say am Nari Jibon blogger. I learned many things from Nari Jibon. I didn’t know how to use digital camera and also how to make video before but today I learned and now I can make it. I am thankful to Nari Jibon executive director Dr. Kathryn B ward and all others of Nari Jibon project for giving us this opportunity.”

Jesmin Ara Amzad said: “This training is very important and I enjoyed it. I suggest to all please sharing your experience, knowledge to others by blogging. I want to learn more and apply to my experience in Nari Jibon blog.”

Shirin Sultana said: “I am a Nari Jibon blogger. Today I learned how to take picture and video, I enjoyed this training very much and also very happy to join this program. I think of buying a digital camera so that I can take lots of pictures from Bangladesh and I would like to show how beautiful is our Bangladesh.”

"Bloggers are sharing their knowledge to each others"

Kamrun Nahar Pushpo said: “When our computer teacher Ms. Taslima Akter informed me about video and digital camera training on Friday, I was so exited! After getting this news I thought about it again and again what will be the moment of our training and it maybe unbelievable to you but it is true that I could not sleep last night as I was so excited. Today I introduced with new technology and now I can use it and it is great achievement to me.”

"Bloggers are practicing "

Salma Akter said: “I am new blogger of nari jibon. Today I learned how to take video and this is new things for me. I want to learn more on it and would like to establish my career as a blogger.”

Shahida Yeasmin Moni said: “Here I am new student and also new blogger. Now I am learning about blog. I guess that blogging is very important and also enjoyable parts of website. I want to establish my career through the blogging.”

"Bloggers are practicing the video and digital camera"

Six more students also learned about blogging (what is blog, how to write, what will write, what is website, browsing the website) through this training. They are Rumi Akter, Anukona, Bithi Akter, Ruma Akter, Hasina Akter & Tahmina Akter Rani.

All the bloggers enjoyed the training program and thanked the trainer and founder of Narijibon and other donors for giving them opportunity to learn about blogging, about digital camera, video camera etc. They also thanked the donors of Nari Jibon for all its programs (training) that are running by their direct finical assistances. They are requesting the donors to continue their cooperation so that they and new others can learn more things from Nari Jibon that would be great help for them to build up their career and make them self-reliant.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How we can help the cyclone sidr affected people

Written and pictures by: M.G.Rabbany Sujan

Already we all aware that few days ago clone sidr attacked on Bangladesh and southern parts’ people are facing real terrible days after the cyclone sidr. Cyclone sidr damaged everything in these areas. A good number of people already died, some people missing still now and some people are struggling with death. The rest of the people are suffering for foods, clothes, dwellings, diseases. Internationally, nationally, locally almost everyone is trying to help these victims. In Dhaka, already many clubs, co-operatives, organizations, Schools, Colleges, Mosques or groups of young peoples are collecting your helps. They are collecting old clothes, dry foods, medicines, current money etc. They are going to the door to door, lane to lane and they have opened camps in various areas. All classes of people are contributing what they can. Poor peoples are also providing their best.
You can also help them and remove their sufferings or protect their lives.

These pictures have taken yesterday evening from Rampura Ekramunnesa college’s camp where some more relieves have collected by the local people. Some young boys are working hard to collecting and maintaining these relieves. Friday 23rd November, one team will go the Cyclone sidr area to distribute these relieves. Tonight relief committee will decide where they will go and if possible they will continue to collect relief for cyclone sidr affected peoples.

These pictures are taken from Malibagh Chowdurypara near the mosque named “Matir mosjid”. There are two spots for collecting relieves. Above one inform that they will go to distribute relieves after collecting sufficient relieves and last one will send their relives to the cyclone affected area in the next Sunday or Monday.

Actually a large number of groups are collecting relives for the cyclone victims in Dhaka city. I think, government should collect these relieves from the locally small collectors to distribute these relieves among the cyclone affected people, as it is very expensive to go to the cyclone affected area and distribute relieves and some small collectors maybe failure to distribute these.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

After the Cyclone Sidr-3

Written by M.G. Rabbany Sujan

Instantly, what is important to do for the victim of sidr

The numbers of death is increasing day by day. Yesterday army briefed that death toll is 3167 and missing-1056 people (Daily Prothom-alo 22 November, 0 7) but non govt. sources are saying more.

Bangladesh government, foreign agencies, NGOs, political parties, personally and other organizations have taken steps to help them and they are assuring more help for the cyclone sidr’s victims. But in this moment, what is the emergency need to the victims of cyclone sidr? What we can provide for the cyclone victims to survival their lives. I think we need to identify what would be important things/relief in this moment for them. What are emergency reliefs in the short term and what can be their long term relief? Otherwise sidr affected people will suffer more soon.
In this moment sidr affected people need some special things to alive which we can say; these are most immediate reliefs. First they need pure water and hygienic foods as the sidr affected people do not have stock of foods. Salted water or sidr damaged their sources of pure water. If we become failure to supply pure water they will fall in sick soon by water borne diseases like diarrhea, dysentery etc.
If we provide them one-time cooked food (khichury) or packet food or some dry foods like chira, gur (molasses), muri, biscuits (which may be not fresh or hygienic) they will be able to go on for the time being. (We also need to be care that in this chance some dishonest businessmen can supply/sell their old/waste dry food). They will not be able to live several days by these dry foods or packet or cooked food. Who will go to them again and again? Then they will take impure food, water and then another devastating epidemic might be arisen. We need to supply them sufficient food that they are habituated to eat and which they can easily digest and we need to supply them water purification tablets and managing other sources for supplying water like tube-wells.
As they are now much shocked and weak, they are not taking foods regularly and some people are not going out to collect relief. They are going to be sick and weak and we need to take care of them. In this situation, we need to provide them more health services, well nursing for the injured and sick peoples and we need to open some more settle light clinics and mobile clinics. All the health services have to be fully free and not lum-sum admission fee as they have no current money.

Many of them lost their dwelling places and clothes. Cyclone sidr vanished to their houses, utensils and clothes, which cyclone people could not find out. Many people are passing night under the open sky. It is also emergency necessary for the victims to manage their living place/house and clothes. As winter is already started we need to supply sufficient necessary warm clothes to the victims. Especially we need to supply children’ clothes/warm clothes soon. We need voluntary people who can help to build their houses. If we are unable to make their houses, we can give them long term loan without interest or with slight interest.

We have come to know from different sources that some NGOs are trying to collect their installments after the cyclone too and we need to think about these as it will be another hit for them.

Cyclone sidr damaged almost all the electricity’s sources and we need to repair these centers. At night they are living in the dark. And instantly, we need to supply sufficient candles, kerosene oil, matches etc.

Providing above mentioned things/relief can remove their present sufferings but we have to think how we can remove their problems in long term. If we feel satisfaction removing their present/temporary problems they will face problem more in the long run. Some NGOs or money-lending businessmen will take this chance and it will make more suffering for them. So it is necessary to give them financial support to cultivate the crops for next season. We can provide to them seeds, fertilizers, money and other necessary things. As the cyclone destroys many trees we can give to them tenders of trees. We can also help them by providing kids’ of goats, cows, poultry etc. we need also provide them business materials like nets, boats, tractors, etc according to their profession.

In conclusion, I want to say, we need to think how we can save their lives from the next cyclone NARGISH. We need to build more cyclone shelters, develop road communication. We also need modern equipments for our meteorological department so that they can alert the people of the coastal area earlier and save their lives.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

After the cyclone sidr-2

Writen and pictured by M.G. Rabbany Sujan

Cyclone ‘sidr’ devoured house wives’ favorite papaya tree too

The natural calamity of Bangladesh ruined the farmers in Bangladesh much in 2007. Two times flood damaged the crops two times. Later farmers invested their last wealth in the field and most of them took loan from various sources. But they failed to take crops in to their houses which were their last resorts. Cyclone sidr damaged their last shelter at the end of season.

This picture is taken from Modhupur upzila under Tangail district where cyclone sidr was powerless but damaged ripe paddy, winter vegetables, some trees.

Village housewives planted papaya tree in front of their kitchen houses/yard which they take care of as like as their child. Recent cyclone sidr damaged it and they are trying to protect.

Soon farmers in Bangladesh will start to reap paddy (boro season) in the coming dry season (Irrigation). New army supported care taker govt. has made some rules to distribute fertilizers among the farmers to control fertilizer’s high price. They appointed one dealer in every union council. Farmers need some formalities to buy fertilizers from the dealers like purchasing issue cards, serial, current money, fixed date, time etc which are very difficult for the illiterate or hardworking farmers. Farmers also have to spoil more time and money for buying fertilizer under these systems. But before they used to buy fertilizers from the nearby grocery shops and sometimes they used to buy on due. Then they did not need formalities, current money, carrying cost and wasting their valuable time. Recently we observed (Daily news papers) some farmers’ agitation demanding fertilizers various districts in Bangladesh. Though government declares that they have no fertilizers crisis and they would recruit three sub-distributors in every union council which can be reduced farmers sufferings/agitations.

Authorities need to make rules going to the field or grassroots to make rules flexible for the farmers or if they make rules by sitting in the air-conditioned rooms by wearing black sunglass they may have problems with farmers in near future.

Now we need to think how farmers can recover from their present situation.

My experiences of Cyclone Sidr

Kazi Rafiqul Islam

I woke up early in the morning on Thursday 15 November 2007. I felt bit cold. I open up some windows of my house. It was raining with strong wind. I heard last night about the Cyclone Sidr. It was then far away from coastal area of the country. To learn more about the cyclone I turned on my TV. From TV news I learned that the severe cyclonic storm code named SIDR with a core of hurricane winds advanced closer to the country’s southern coast.

I came to office facing rain and wind. I got an email and some satellite image of the Cyclone and its power from our Executive Director, Prof. Kathryn Ward. I learned that the cyclone Sidr is more powerful than the Cyclone Katrina that hit in the USA in 2005. We also learned that the cyclone might hit Dhaka and nearby areas. I got frightened. Due to rain and gusty wind students were not coming to NJ. I informed the ED. She told me that the Cyclone might hit Dhaka and asked me to go home and keep the office closed on Friday.

On the way to my residence I talked with many people about the cyclone who said that this cyclone might be more dangerous than the cyclone of 1970 that killed thousands of people of Barisal, Bhola and Patuakhali area. My fear was increasing to hear it. I was thinking how the lives of thousands of people of the coastal areas will be saved where we do not have enough cyclone shelters.

I was also thinking about my sisters who are living in Barisal and Cox’s Bazaar. I phoned to my younger sister who living at Cox’s bazaar. My younger sister Reba informed me of the cautionary signal number 9 that was hoisted over there. She requested me not to worry about them as they are living in building. Then I phoned to my youngest sister Keya who is living in a village of Barisal district. My youngest sister informed me that it was raining over there with strong wind. She did not know much about the Cyclone as she could not turn on her TV as there was no electricity. I informed her about the cyclone and asked her to be careful..

In the evening it was raining heavily and strong wind was blowing over the city. I turned on the TV and learned that the cyclone Sidr is going to hit the coastal area of Barisal, Patuakhali and Khulna within two or three hours. People of the coastal area were asked to take shelter in cyclone centers. At about ten pm I heard from news bulleting that central part of the Cyclone Sidr was crossing the Khulna Barisal coastal area over the Bolleshwar river.

Due to strong wind electricity was cut off at about 10:15 pm. Then I went to bed but could not sleep as the roaring of the wind was increasing. I was in a building but I could hear the roaring. There were some tin shed house in front of my house and there was a big and high Ucaliptus tree in front of one of the house. I was thinking that the tree might break or fell down and it might cause of great damage of the house if it fell on the house.

Roaring of the cyclone was increasing. At 2:00 am I got a phone call from my eldest sister who was in her sister’s house at Barisal city. She informed that they were in great danger. The roof of the house (tin shed house) was flown away by the cyclone and somehow they were saved and took shelter in her daughter’s father-in-laws house. Cyclone is becoming stronger gradually. She also informed me that her village house was seriously damaged by the cyclone. I phoned my youngest sister in village. She informed me that she is safe but many trees were broken and fallen down by the Cyclone. One big tree fell on the Mosque near by our house and seriously damaged. She was crying in fear of more damage. I requested her not to lose her courage.

At about 2:30am I heard a big sound outside. I looked outside and saw that the Ucaliptus tree had fallen down on a tin shed house and people are shouting. Later I heard that no people died as it fallen on one side of the house. Any way god saved many peoples’ lives. I thought to take some picture of the fallen tree and house in the morning. The tree was gone early that morning.

Since there was no electricity I could not turn on the TV or Radio all day long (Friday). We could not contact cyclone affected people as we could not get the mobile charged. Those who had mobile charged before could contact with their relatives. Finally, I bought a news Paper (Daily Ittefaq). I learned the coastal areas of the country (specially Barisal, Bhola, Borguna, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Bagerhat, Satkhira) were almost destroyed by the cyclone Sidr and it killed hundreds.

So we were detached from the world. At night Dhaka city became ghost city. We did not have electricity, no water; we could not take bathe also many people could not cook as they did not have water. To do household works we had to buy candles with double price as the supply was less than necessity. Some how; we passed the night. On Saturday morning we got power supply and water. We got our mobile charged and could open TV.

Every day the numbers of reported dead increases and private channels report higher numbers than BTV (government channel). This morning (Monday) I learned from private TV news bulletin that more than 3000 people were killed by the cyclone. Thousands of people are homeless. They do not have food, clothing, and shelter. They do not have pure water. People are suffering from diarhoea and other water born diseases. Thousands of livestock drowned.

Govt is continuing the relief and rescue activities which are not sufficient. Govt relief and rescue teams did not reach to all the affected areas. Army, Navy and air force are working in govt relief activities. They are dropping relief packets from helicopter. People are fighting for the relief packets because the relief is not sufficient for the affected people. Three or four people are getting relief out of ten and what they are getting is much less than their need.

I saw in TV news that that some people are being buried with the cloths that they wore but people could not collect cloths ( Kafoner kapor) for the dead people. Dead people are still found floating in water and or lying in jungle. People are crying for their dead and missing relatives. They are thinking how they will survive? Fishermen have lost their boats, nets. Farmers have lost their crops. They do not have seeds, bull/buffalos, or fertiliser to cultivate. No house, no food, no shelter. Some of them will get some food or some cash for the time being. But they will have to live long without any help. But they will continue hoping that their missing relatives will come one day. They are crying and the wind is becoming too heavy to hear them crying.

From my observation and previous experiences I can say that many people of the coastal area were not informed about the cyclone and its power. People did not understand its destructive power. They did not go to the shelter. Actually the cyclone shelters that were built for the coastal area people were not sufficient to keep all the people.

We are getting different statistics of death from Govt or non Govt media. I think it will go up to ten thousand or more. Thousands of people are still missing. No one can say whether they are alive. Probably we will not get the statistics ever. The government promises investigations into accidents and disasters, but then no reports are released and no real steps taken to protect people. But accidents and disasters are continuing and killing hundreds of people’s lives every year. How is it? We should think and take necessary step to get rid of these reoccurring problems.

In the year 1970 about six lac people were killed by the cyclone. Govt. weather office/ media could not warn the people as they do not have modern equipments and communication facilities as we have now; still we are losing thousands of peoples lives. Why we are losing lives of people who are living in the coastal areas and earning money for the country through their different works. If the country can not save them, give shelter in any crisis why they are allowing them to live in those unsecured areas?

Now it is time to think about the people of the coastal areas. We need to make them aware of any cyclone/flood/Tsunami and any other disaster. B.Govt should make sufficient cyclone shelter for the people of coastal area. Our Govt. needs to make standby rescue teams so that they can do the things as and when needed. We can take loans for making park, high raised building etc but we can not save the lives of our people by making sufficient cyclone centers. How is it? We know that the world climate is changed and we might face different cyclone, tsunami, Earthquake etc in the up coming days/years. But we need minimum safely that we can expect from the govt.

We need to save the affected people of the coastal area first. They need food, Clothing and shelter. We should tell the people of other countries/donor agencies about the actual situation of the cyclone affected people for assistance so that they can help and save thousands of lives.

Monday, November 19, 2007

After the Cyclone Sidr

Written and pictures by M.G. Rabbany Sujan

More than 2608* (The Daily Prothom-alo, 19th November) people dead, thousands people injured, loss of dwelling places, animals, crops, trees and other wealth by the cyclone sidr in last week. Barshal, Khulna Bagerhat, Gopalgonj are more affected but Cyclone sidr blew and destroyed all over the Bangladesh. After the two times floods and recent cyclone sidr made the people disappointed. I was living in Dhaka during these natural calamities.

We left our office before one hour ago of office ending period due to cyclone sidr (Thursday, 15.11.07). It was raining and blowing cold air from the early in the morning rain. But loading storm and heavy rain blew on Friday mid night when were became very much fearful. We lived in Dhaka without electricity, supply water at least 48 hours. We passed this time in the dark and we were afraid. We did not get any information as we had no electricity, mobile connection/charge etc. But we heard some people crying/ shouting/loud of storm as the some tin-shed house were broken beside my house.

We (office staffs) came to the office Saturday as usual. I went to visit the Malibagh road side slum near by our office to observe how they passed cyclone siddr night. They informed that they could not sleep that night as they wet in the rain and they tried to protect their house and beds, clothes from the rain and storm. Their house was made by polythin (plastic thin cover) and thin stick. Kulsum baowa’s house was broken and today (Saturday 17th November) she was making her house again. Saturday they were also making dry their wet rice, beds, clothes etc. An old women was making warm clothe (Katha) as two nights she suffered in very cold air. Some women have new born baby and they are taking care of their baby giving mustered oil and feeding best milk as their baby also wet/suffered cold airs in the last two days/nights.

There more than 30 families live in this slum. They have no electricity supply, no water supply or any other facilities to live there. Some families are new comer from the rural area in Bangladesh and they came during flood period in this year and some were evicted from their old slum in Kamalapur rail station’s slum. They have also made a latrine adjacent their houses which they only use during daytime and at night they complete their toileting in the roadside. They bring water from the nearby mosques or markets or nearby public toilets or kindness house owners but most of the time they have to steal water as often they are scolded or driven away. I have talked with Sufia and Komola and they came from Perojpur as their houses and lands were broken by the river and now they have nothing in the village. Now they are working as part time housemaid (buya) to the several houses. Korimon bewya (widow) is now begging in the Dhaka city door to door. They informed that they did not know anything about cyclone sidr and they have faced many serious natural calamities like this time. But they became more scare eviction by the police or govt. or mastans (local muscle men).

They are repairing their house after the cyclone “sidr” in Dhaka (Saturday, 19th November)

She is taking care of her new born baby and another child is helping her.

Karimon beowa is sewing and preparing a warm clothe (katha) by pieces of clothes which she collected from roads or beside houses.

After cooking lunch Halima is feeding her child.

This is their daytime latrine near their houses.

Post Cyclone Sidr donations for Bangadesh & Baby Cyclone

from Kathryn Ward, USA

Signs of Progress! Electricity and internet connections are back on (but slow internet) at Nari Jibon Project. I hope hope to have updates, stories, and pictures from the Nari Jibon Project staff and students soon!

As the death toll from Cyclone Sidr grows past 2, 300 (up to 10,000 deaths predicted) and more pictures and stories have been posted to the web and blogs, so have the lists of where you can donate. Here are links on several blogs.

Rezwan provides news, video, and donation sites. Go to the bottom of his post for links.

Zafanoor at her blog, Keep Me Honest, has updates as well as an excellent list of where to donate (at the bottom of her post), including some USA donation sites

Drishtipat discusses what people can do from afar with specific strategies as well as donation links.

Ironically although many donor organizations and countries have made pledges of help (including two US Navy ships steaming toward Bangladesh w/o the knowledge of the Bangladeshi government), the overwhelmed Bangladesh government has yet to ask for formal international help, despite that many people in the stricken coast areas have been in the open, without food or good water for going on three days. Hopefully, assorted sources of help will continue to come and the GOB, donor organizations, and countries can work out distribution and reconstruction plans especially for the immediate needs of the survivors. This has happened before: after the 1991 cyclone, Mash & Rezwan describe how several Navy ships-and their angels provided much needed assistance & good will to Bangladesh. Hopefully this can be a repeat visit, good help, and repair some tattered relationships with the USA through some direct face to face contacts and assistance.

Gradually the USA media has begun to report on Cyclone Sidr. An article appeared in my local newspaper in downstate Illinois (Sunday, Nov 18), local TV station, and even my mother, Patricia S. Ward in Casper Wyoming, reported seeing an AP- Pavel Rahman picture of an elephant helping to move a bus.

Some USA-international blogs on other topics are gradually providing information and links on this disaster. I encourage all readers to reach out, link, and and inform others about this ongoing disaster and long-term needs for donations and where to donate.

One last piece of good news: Baby Cyclone, (picture from BBC) who was born during the storm and named by his parents-grandmother. As noted by Mash, this little boy was born into and survived the destruction, but will need much help to make it through the aftermath. Like Mash and other bloggers, we hope that the power and information of the internet will generate donations and help for Bangladesh and the surviving but unseen little girls and boys who are the future as well as their families.

(cross-posted in Bideshi Blue)