Ashraf is an elderly man who has lived in his village on the banks of the Yamuna river in Bangladesh for the last 20 years. Every year, he witnesses the flooding of the river due to monsoon rains and each year he survives them. Last year, however, the flooding was particularly bad and his family and many others across the country had difficulties dealing with the rising of the rivers. People were displaced from their homes, suffered damage to their crops and livestock and experienced difficulties accessing clean water, sanitation facilities and shelter.

Among those affected were people like Ashraf, who was diagnosed with leprosy three years ago. We found that Ashraf and many others living with the effects of leprosy had difficulties recovering from the flood and needed additional support - quickly. 

A picture of a Lepra staff member indicating the flood level last year, which was chest high, on the side of a house.
A Lepra staff member indicates the flood level last year

A kind donation of £10,000 by The Volant Trust allowed us to set up the Flood Damage Rebuild Project in partnership with RDRS Bangladesh. This allowed us to budget to provide one-time support to a selected group of people - who were most in need of our help.

As a result, we were able to help 220 people across Bogra, Sirajganj, Lalmonirhat, and Kurigram district. Each person received a budget of £50, which they could spend on what they themselves believed to be most beneficial to them.

What proved most popular among the recipients of the small budget was the purchase of a goat, as a source of income. This was the choice Ashraf and his family made, and his wife explains that they are already in for a profit:

The goat was bought last month for 4,000 BDT (£41) but now I can sell it for 5,000 (£51).

A picture of Ashraf's wife with two of their goats
Ashraf's wife. The goat was donated by the Flood Damage Rebuild Project.

She has no immediate plans for sale though, as she is waiting for the Eid feast at the end of Ramadan, when the price of goats goes up as everyone in Bangladesh prepares for the celebratory feast.

The second most popular item was a blanket, as chosen by 72-year-old Anima Das, also affected by leprosy. Blankets were an important source of warmth against the winter chill, as Anima explained:

I'll sleep soundly tonight, for the first time in a long time. The chilling cold will not cause me discomfort anymore.

A picture of Amina Das on a cart with her blanket
Amina Das receives her blanket

The project ran from October 2016 to February 2017. By the end of January, it became clear that the full budget had not been used up, leaving just under £930 to be spent in February. After a consultation with local coordinators, it was decided to purchase more goats for additional people in the Bogra district, which means that the total beneficiary number exceeded 200 families!

Find out more about our work in Bangladesh