Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country. The people of Bangladesh make a living from agriculture, textiles, garments, jute products, seafood processing, fertilizer production, sugar, tea, leather, and steel. Many of the people are landless and are forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land.
Periodic severe flooding in Bangladesh during monsoons has become worse due to global warming. Climate change and severe weather issues impact the lives and livelihoods of the people of Bangladesh. Global Ministries works with two partners in Bangladesh, the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh and the Church of Bangladesh, who provide aid to those most affected.
The Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh is working to transform lives through its poverty reduction program forum groups. Global Ministries visited several forums and learned how this program is helping to change multiple communities into thriving and growing neighborhoods. At one forum group, we met women who have received microcredit loans. The forums play a significant role in increasing household income as well as poverty reduction. Micro credits are provided to men and women who want to create a business but need low-interest loans. With the microcredit loans, people can start businesses that range from farms, grocery stores, jewelry, snack and candy making, and more.
In one forum group, women from a Muslim community have come together to change their community. Women sell milk and other products at a fair value that allows for a greater return on their investments, allowing them to be able to send their children to school. Working together has proven to benefit these women. The women pay a monthly fee to be a part of the forum and the fee allows them to do community activism and development. The forum can support children by awarding scholarships for school, providing nutritious meals, and offering blankets for children in the community. The program works to prevent child marriages in Bangladesh, where 60% of marriages are child marriages. Another issue that women are facing is domestic violence. The forum provides education on domestic violence for women and men. Most of the women farmers are also organic farmers who use sustainable farming techniques for their produce. Both men and women farmers are working to eliminate greenhouse gas through cooking and farming. In this forum, women have grown to such prominence in the community that one was recently elected to a local political position.