Social curses, superstitions being eradicated from char areas

Social curses, superstitions being eradicated from char areas

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Laudable changes have taken place in eradicating social curses and superstitions through hectic GO-NGO efforts in the remote and hardly reachable char areas in the Brahmaputra basin in recent years.
The char people, who lived in dire poverty amid natural disasters like flood, erosion and others for decades together in the pasts, are now dreaming of an enlightened future for their next generations as a result of the social changes.Chilmari upazila chairman Shawkat Ali Sarker, Bir Bikram, said that it
was unthinkable in the past that the people living in remote char areas could even think about marriages of their daughters at right ages with registrations and without dowry.The rate of adopting family planning measures including taking birth control pills, contraceptives, condoms and other means has increased and couples are giving birth to only two children in place of five to 10 or even more as in the past.“Besides, the char people, who were married long ago, are now registering their marriages where the cent percent weddings of the girls were child marriages at ages between 10 and 12 years without registrations even a decade ago,” he added.The tremendous success has been achieved following huge motivational activities being conducted by different NGOs with the assistance of the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) and local administrations since 2004 bringing a social revolution in char areas.Head of Programme Coordination of RDRS Bangladesh Monjusree Saha said the success is a unique example in advancing the severely backward char people towards the direction of building a middle income Bangladesh by 2021.Under the programme, public hearing meetings, discussions, staging of mass drama and rallies are being arranged in the moholla, village and union levels in the remote and hardly reachable char areas to motivate the common people.Colourful community fairs are also being organised in the char areas and hundreds of char people are coming there, where stalls are being set up displaying healthcare, family planning activities and livestock developments, marriage registrations and others. The number of drop outs from the primary schools, child marriages,repression on women and children, divorce, polygamy and dowry have been reduced drastically and the char people has been using sanitary latrines and contraceptives now, Monjusree added.Besides, the child and maternal malnutrition and deaths have been reduced and the have-nots group char women have achieved self- reliance through various income-generating activities accelerating women empowerment in remote char areas.Taramon Bibi, Bir Pratik, said the achieved success has already created a social renaissance in the char areas, where the common people were gripped with social superstitions and curses for decades after decades in the pasts.Chilmari UNO Mamun-Ul-Hassan said the char villagers now believe that changes should begin from the grassroots for real developments, though they could not even think about marriage registrations, dowry-free marriages and marriages at right ages in the past. -BSS, Rangpur

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