Wednesday, October 21, 2009

International Day of Prayer 2009 observed in piety at Habitat Bangladesh

266 people across seven communities shared thoughts for the homeless and destitute this September, as Habitat for Humanity International in Bangladesh gathered for the International Day of Prayer.

The intent of the day is to place in the hearts, minds and souls of people everywhere; the idea that squalid, unsafe, often expensive housing is unacceptable.

Special prayers have been offered for the millions of people who become homeless due to the effect of war and natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and earthquakes.

International Day of Prayer was observed on the 15th of September in the Chapel of Mymensingh Baptist Church in Kachijuli. The Habitat team at the Mymensingh Satellite also issued letters to churches requesting offers of prayers on Sunday for those in need of decent shelter.

Celebrations organized by the Durgapur Satellite occurred on the 18th of September at the YWCA conference room in Netrakona. Habitat staff, Advisory Board Members, Church and NGO leaders shared prayers, songs and tea on the day.

Habitat’s Madhupur Satellite held the largest International Day of Prayer meeting on the 20th of September, which took place at the Church of Bangladesh Social Development Program in Edilpur (see picture above). The 85 guests included Tribal leaders, School teachers, and children of Usha children village, and speeches highlighted Habitat’s works in providing safe accommodation for all human beings.

Local organizations and churches joined the Savar Satellite of September 29th to observe the day at the Glory Baptist Church in Anandapur. The participants “contributed their time in interesting and blissful prayer”, Savar Satellite coordinator Lydia Barikdar reported.

On the same day, 34 people met to pray at the Satkhira Satellite, Sultanpur. The program included prayers led by; Social Worker Mr. Mizanur Rahman; Father Joha of the Sultanpur Catholic Mission; Pastor-Rabindronath Sarker; Divisional Program Manager Masudul Hasan of the Khulna Habitat Resource Centre and Mr. Ankur Robert Chowdhury, Satkira Satellite Coordinator.

On September 30th, Khulna Habitat Resource Centre held a prayer meeting led by Community Development Officer Mr. Roton Patrick Marandy, and was attended by community groups, church members and NGO Directors.

“It was a nice time to reconcile and rebuild our relationship among all the people of our community without discrimination,” Mr. Marandy said.

More than 35 people attended at the service at the YWCA Conference Hall in Dhaka, thoughtfully led by Reverend Sourov Folia, Principal at the St. Andrews Theological College. A choir from the College welcomed guests to the afternoon by gently singing a number of hymns.

Particular Prayers for the day included a Prayer for Human Dignity, a Prayer for those in Slums, a Prayer for Peace & Prosperity, a Prayer for those in Authority and a Prayer for those Helping the Poor.

Dr. Peter Halder, President of the HFHI-B National Advisory Board and long-term Habitat supporter, addressed the group with the message that while not everyone is in a position to donate financially or support Habitat, prayer is always possible.

HFHI-B National Director Ms. Kelly Koch recognized the importance of partnerships – with individuals, organizations, communities and with God - to fulfill Habitat’s mission of providing shelter for the millions of homeless around the world.

“We call upon you to join us in prayers so that we can come up with specific projects and programs, advocacy and networking plan and necessary funding and resources to address to the housing need of Bangladesh,” Ms Koch said.

“Let’s spend these moments in prayer for our less fortunate brothers and sisters who live without a place to call ‘home’. Let us take a conscience action to end homelessness; lets us be united in belief that rights to decent housing are a matter of conscience not a choice,” she concluded.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gorgeous in Green and Beautiful in Blue

Bangladesh was brightened on October 5th as supporters of Habitat for Humanity International wore green and blue in celebration of World Habitat Day.

Workers and students from across the country participated in World Habitat Day, which provides an opportunity to focus on the dire need for adequate shelter for all, and the active search for solutions.

The symbolic campaign of NIL SHOBUJER BHALOBASHA (for love of blue and green) represented Habitat for Humanity colors – green for the home environment (habitat) and blue for family and community (humanity).

Nearly all the students from the International School Dhaka dressed in blue and green for the day. Other teams going to particular effort included the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Participatory Development Action Program, the American Alumni Association as well as Habitat Staff from Mymensingh and Dhaka. See below for photographs of participating groups.

In rural Bangladesh, 84% of homes are inadequate or temporary. 54% of urban-dwellers live in temporary structures. Millions of Bangladeshi families live with insufficient electricity supplies, unhygienic water and sewerage connections, which lead to serious health concerns and a lack of human security.

“We understand perhaps more clearly than ever before that no-one can be excluded, especially the poor. On World Habitat Day, let us pledge to do our part to follow through on our plans for a better, greener, more sustainable future for our increasingly urban planet.” (United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon)

Though the current programs of Habitat for Humanity International - Bangladesh are rural and semi-urban focused, it recognizes the need to comprehensively address issues arising from exponential urban growth.

For the poor who live in overcrowded, unsafe, unsanitary, unacceptable conditions, planning must also be more equitable. To break the cycle of poverty means creating sustainable communities where people have access to affordable land and enjoy secure tenure rights.

HFHI-B is working tirelessly in achieving these goals and aims to serve 1,500 families before World Habitat Day 2010 comes around.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wear Green and Blue to Celebrate World Habitat Day Tomorrow!

World Habitat Day emphasizes the dire need for adequate shelter for all.
This year’s focus for World Habitat Day is smarter planning to cope with the demands of rapid urbanization, as cities and towns feel the effects of climate change, resource depletion, population growth and economic instability.
Please join Habitat for Humanity International – Bangladesh and participate in a symbolic campaign of NIL SHOBUJER BHALOBASHA, by wearing green and blue on October 5th. Email a photograph of yourself, your friends or colleagues dressed up in green and blue and it will be displayed on the Habitat Bangladesh website.
We need to take conscious action! Join Habitat Bangladesh in the campaign to eliminate substandard housing throughout Bangladesh.
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