Entries in Where We Work (1)
Less than a thousand miles from Cambodia, which we highlighted last week, lies a country with what would seem like many similarities -- Bangladesh has a colorful culture and a tumultuous history.
Considering that the region was settled as many as 4,000 years ago, the last 70 years have been nothing short of turbulent. Modern-day Bangladesh was created after the British Empire withdrew and partitioned two countries -- India and Pakistan -- based on religious distinctions in 1947.
Originally designated "East Bengal," the region we now know as Bangladesh was part of Pakistan; from the time of partition, however, clashes grew between the eastern, Bengali-speaking region and the more wealthy Urdu-speaking west. The next two decades were filled with repression and violent unrest, even after Bangladesh's independence was declared in 1971.
In the midst of such upheaval, the people of Bangladesh continued to live and work in one of the most unique regions of the world. Situated on the delta of three major rivers (the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna) as well as countless tributaries, Bangladesh has some of the most fertile soil in the world.
We'll explore more of Bangladesh this week, but before we do, take a look at some of the areas we serve and learn more about this fascinating country!
Bangladesh is a very small country (about the size of the state of Iowa) but it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. There are 156 million people who live in Bangladesh. Can you imagine that many people living in Iowa? That’s over 50 times more people in the same amount of land!
Not only is the population dense, but the landscape is too! This makes it so much harder to travel anywhere or build and maintain roads, bridges, and power lines. For example, one of our projects is a mere 50 miles from the capital city of Dhaka, and yet it takes several hours driving in a truck and an hour boat ride to get there from the capital.
Bangladesh is a low-lying country and very wet as you can see from most of these photos. Cyclones and monsoons are so frequent that a large amount of the country is flooded six months out of the year.
Farming is a main source of income for many of our children’s families but their fields are also flooded half of the year. During that time these farmers have to find another way to feed their families and earn an income.
And because water is everywhere, so are bridges.
Does your sponsored child walk to school? Chances are that he walks over several bridges just to get to school. Can you imagine using a bridge like the one above everyday?
Speaking of water… does your sponsored child have the responsibility of getting water for the family? In Bangladesh indoor plumbing is very rare and children usually get their water from nearby wells or rivers and carry it home.
Or maybe your sponsored child helps the family by washing clothes, fishing, or gathering firewood?
Have the letters you received from you child given you an inside look at what life is like in Bangladesh? Let us know! We'd love to hear what you've learned!