Stories written by Rafiqul Islam

Climate Change, Pollution Push Karnaphuli Fishers Out of the Profession

Jishuram Das, a sexagenarian who was born in Jelepara, located in Chattogram, has been catching fish from the Karnaphuli River since his childhood. But nowadays, he often sits idle without going to catch fish, as their catches have drastically fallen.

LDCs Need Concessional Grants, Not Loans, Say Experts

Olaide Bankole was born and raised in Nigeria, and he observed how climate change was evident in the country with temperature rises and rainfall variability and how drought, desertification, and sea level rises have been affecting its people. He is also aware of how rising sea levels threaten southern Nigerian cities like Lagos and coastal areas, increasing their vulnerability to flooding and waterborne diseases.

Conservation Efforts by Ethnic Communities in Bangladesh Bolster Water Security

Just a few years ago, Sudarshana Chakma (35), a resident of the remote Digholchari Debarmatha village under Bilaichari upazila in the Rangamati Hill District, had to traverse a long hilly path to fetch water for her household because there were no local water sources. "Unchecked deforestation and degradation of village common forests (VCFs) led to the drying up of all-natural water sources in our village. We struggled to collect drinking and household water," Chakma explained to IPS. 

Moimuna Nursing Institute Ushers Hope for Vulnerable Rural Girls in Bangladesh

After passing her secondary school certificate (SCC) in 2019, Sweety Akter went door-to-door to collect money to enroll in a college, but she wasn't successful. Born to an extremely poor family in Fultala village under Baliadangi upazila in Thakurgaon district, Akter saw her dream of studying fading as she was unable to enroll in a college because of a lack of funding, despite her good results at school.

Cooperative Farming Makes Bangladesh’s Coastal Women Farmers Climate-Resilient

In the past, Salma Begum, 40, lost her crops every year due to natural disasters. She lives with her five-member family in Ashabaria village under Rangabali upazila, a remote coastal island in Patuakhali district. “We did not have enough livelihood options in the coastal area where we live. Cyclones, coastal floods, and tidal surges have been having adverse impacts on agriculture, making it difficult for my wage-laborer husband to find work regularly,” she said.

High Prevalence of Undetected Hypertension Found in Bangladesh

Since her childhood, Parveen Begum, 52, has been adding extra salt while eating her meals. However, she did not know that this contributed to high blood pressure.

Rohingya Camps Become Dengue Hotspots in Bangladesh

With the monsoon in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar have emerged as a dengue hotspot, with the mosquito-borne disease continuing to spread among the stateless refugees. "A total of 1,066 dengue cases were reported in highly cramped refugee camps in Cox's Bazar up to May 23 this year, while the case tally was only 426 among the local community there," Dr Nazmul Islam, Director of Disease Control and Line of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said.

Women Advocates for Harvesting Rainwater in Salinity-Affected Coastal Bangladesh

Like many other women in Bangladesh's salinity-prone coastal region, Lalita Roy had to travel a long distance every day to collect drinking water as there was no fresh water source nearby her locality.

Bangladesh Plans to Launch Toll-free SMS Flood Warning

Ziaur Rahman, a farmer of Pakuar Char under Sariakandi Upazila in Bogura, cultivated jute on a newly emerged river island (char) in the Brahmaputra River, but this year’s flood washed away his crop.

Bangladesh Flood Victims Cry for Relief

After losing everything in the recent devastating flood that swept the northeastern districts in Bangladesh, pregnant mother Joynaba Akter, her three children and her husband took refuge in a shelter centre at Gowainghat in Sylhet.

Bangladesh’s Indigenous Forest Dwellers Fear Losing Ancestral Land as Officials Grapple with Land Grabs

When the Bangladesh Forest Department felled Basanti Rema’s banana orchard, Rema, a Garo indigenous forest-dweller of Madhupur Forest, felt she was living a nightmare. Rema, from Pegmari village in Madhupur, Tangail district, had cultivated the banana plants on half an acre in the Madhupur Forest. But the Forest Department claimed that the land on which the bananas were cultivated belonged to the department. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Domestic Workers’ Plight in Bangladesh

Rani Akter, a mother of five, usually works as a domestic helper in Dhaka’s Zikatola area. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Bangladesh last March, her employers asked her not to come to their homes for fear of infection. “I lost my work in three houses one after the other, which became a nightmare for me. My rich employers did not allow me in their homes as they thought that I might carry the invisible virus,” Akter told IPS.

Is Sharing More than Water the Key to Transboundary Governance in the Meghna River Basin?

Kajol Miah is a rice farmer from the Bangladesh side of the Meghna River Basin. And in towns on the Indian side of the river basin, Bangladeshi rice is in great demand.

Rohingya Children Find Refuge in Education

Although learning centres in Cox’s Bazar Kutupalong Refugee Camp are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariom Akhter, a Rohingya mother of four, is grateful not only for the schooling her children have had but the training sessions she as a parent was able to attend. The skills she learnt has helped her assist her children with their education at home in a crisis. It’s something she’s likely needed to help her children with over the last few weeks after a Mar. 22 fire spread through the camp, destroying the shelters of at least 45,000 people as well as important infrastructure, including hospitals, learning centres, aid distribution points and a registration centre. At least 15 people were reported dead and 400 missing.

Dying for a Better Life – How Rohingya Refugees Risk their Lives to Cross into Malaysia

Last week more than 396 starving Rohingyas were rescued off the coast of Bangladesh after being at sea for two months. At least 32 had died on the boat after it failed to reached Malaysia. While it was unclear at the time of the breaking news whether the refugees were from Myanmar, where they are originally from, or Bangladesh — where more than a million Rohingya Muslims live as refugees after fleeing violence in Myanmar in 2017 — the attempt to reach Malaysia is not a new one.

No Space for Social Distancing in Rohingya Refugee Camps

Nine-year-old Mohammad Rafique used to collect vegetables from Kutupalong Bazaar and sell them at a market inside Kutupalong camp, a camp of some 600,000 Rohingyas, in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar.


Mainstreaming Leprosy-affected People a Big Challenge in Bangladesh

When Feroza Begum was first diagnosed with leprosy in 2006, it felt as though she had been struck by a thunderbolt due to the deep-seated prejudice in her society that the disease is a curse from Allah (God).

Sasakawa Vows to Continue Support for Fighting Leprosy in Bangladesh

Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, has assured Bangladesh of continuing support for the Zero Leprosy Initiative announced by the country's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, aimed at eliminating leprosy by 2030.

Nippon Foundation Announces US$ 2m Support for the Education of Rohingya Children in Bangladesh

In the light of limited access to education for displaced Rohingya children, the Nippon Foundation has announced US$ 2 million support to BRAC to launch a project to ensure educational facilities to both Rohingya and local community children.

Bangladesh Can Be Leprosy-Free Before 2030 Prime Minister Tells National Zero Leprosy Conference

Leprosy is not a curse but should be detected and treated early, Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has told delegates at a gathering in her country's capital to discuss the elimination of the disease.

Building a Leprosy Free Bangladesh

Despite having remarkable success in leprosy control in the last decades, the Bangladesh government is now moving forward with a vision to build a leprosy- free country.

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