Bangladesh: “Our Lives Have Changed”

In communities impacted by climate change, Action Against Hunger and our partners are helping families adapt and thrive.

Shilpi Khatun, 35, lives in the village of Gobindapur, Bangladesh, with her husband, Ziarul Islam, and three sons. The family lives close to the river, and each year the waters creep higher as the impacts of climate change become part of everyday life. Frequent flooding washes away income opportunities, possessions, and hope.

When disasters like floods hit and there isn’t enough food to go around, one of the coping mechanisms struggling families turn to is marriage. Shilpi, like many women and girls in this area, married at a very young age.

Shilpi and her husband work long and hard hours to provide for their family, but – until recently – it has never been enough. “There were days when we starved,” she remembers.

The floods, cyclones, and other extreme weather events return each year, taking everything they have. “Cows, goats, chickens get washed away every time we face disaster,” says Shilpi. “With small children, life on a coastal island is very challenging.”

“At least three months of the year, we stay waterlogged. We get no work or any way to earn money during the time of the flood season. Our neighbors can hardly help us with a loan because each of us is fighting the same battle. Each of us is fighting to bring food to our kitchen.”

Shilpi had nearly given up hope that she could make a brighter future for herself and her children. Then, she learned about a new project in her community, and began to see how her neighbors’ lives were improving.

Working together, Action Against Hunger and the Soneva Foundation are helping families like Shilpi’s adapt to climate change. We’re teaching people new skills and offering business training, as well as supporting them to increase their food production at home by using climate-resilient farming methods. This dual action plan ensures that families can access nutritious food either from their gardens or with their income.

After talking it over with her husband, Shilpi joined the project. The couple took training courses and learned to work their land more effectively using resources they already had. Quickly, they became self-sufficient.