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Rahima Begum discusses her future "dream home" with Caritas Bangladesh community outreach worker Mithu Rani Das. Mithu holds a hand-drawn teaching aid that depicts all of the aspects of a dream home people in the community can add gradually to their houses. The discussion takes place in front of Rahima's current home, which leaks, is too small to comfortably sleep her and her 7 year old son, and she must cook in the same structure, filling it with smoke before every meal. They are standing on the raised foundation Rahima is slowly building.

Rahima is saving money for materials for her new home with the income generating activities taught by Caritas Bangladesh. And in the meantime, she is building the raised foundation of her home, making hundreds of trips carrying baskets of mud from surrounding fields.

Rahima and her son Rakibul have benefitted from Caritas Bangladesh's trainings in how to compost, get better yields from the garden, use all land available for growing food (including on the roof of her house), how to store food in watertight containers, reinforcing the house to better withstand cyclones, and other interventions.

CRS partners with Caritas Bangladesh to provide comprehensive disaster risk reduction interventions in southern Bangladesh, an area highly prone to flooding and damage from cyclones. The trainings include evacuation procedures to secure cyclone shelters during a storm and making homes more resilient by tying down roofs and building homes on raised sections of earth.

The project also helps families bounce back after a disaster by training them how to bring in more income, grow their own vegetable gardens, filter rainwater, vaccinate livestock on schedule and save money for the future.

Photo by Jennifer Hardy/Catholic Relief Services