By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,
Kolkata/Nadia: ReshmaKhatun, a 15 yr old thriving 9th grader, came back from school one day to find that she had lost all of her school materials, books, annual mark sheets and much more. A massive fire had broken out on the 23rd of March which burnt her mud-hut home along with a cluster of mud-hut homes in the area. Reshma is the first student to reach the 9th grade in her village. On a daily basis she would walk 4 km just to attend school. Going to school was already a struggle, and now she is left without any materials or a home.
Like Reshma, several others students also lost their school books and other study materials when their homes, too, were consumed in the blaze. Due to the fire, the children of this community are now left with no option but to discontinue school. Their entire families’ lives have turned upside down since being left homeless.
Fire gutted 24 little huts at Goaldanga village of Nadia district, West Bengal on 23 March, 2015
The 24 house that were gutted in fire leave 13 children to stare at a bleak future. These homes that burnt down were made of thatched walls, bamboo pillars and tin roofs.
SamratMondalstands by the remains of his burnt home in Goaldanga, near the Bangladesh border and more than 160 km from Kolkata.
72 people are now left homeless due to the fire and are staying in a make shift sheds made of tarpaulin. These are homes of daily wage laborers working in agriculture fields and below the poverty line of $1.25 per day.
Fire ruined the home of Rabiul Islam at Goaldanga
Rabiul Islam, 55, an agricultural field laborer, said, “When the fire broke out that afternoon, he was taking rest in his house. When I heard the commotion, I ran out to see the high flames consuming everything. Our village has no piped water so we carried water from a nearby pond but could not salvage anything.”
Home Consumed with fire, now living in a make shift home at Goaldanga.
Several others have similar stories of the affects from the fire. Pijiron Bibi, 70, a widow, suffered burns as she was late to come out the room. Rupali Mondal, 35, lost her two goats. With three children in tow, she is facing trouble. Widows Jamela Bewa and Momena Bibi, who have no place to stay, face more problems.
IMRC distributes food and study materialsfor the fire victims of Goaldanga Village
Local Block Development Office (BDO) assisted the fire victims with tarpaulin sheets for temporary shelter. IMRC, Indian Muslim Relief & Charities, a nonprofit charitable organization run by NRI in the US provided other emergency relief materials and essential food staples for the victims.
On behalf of IMRC distributing study materials at Goaldanga Village
IMRC sent its team to assess the situation on the ground and investigate further the needs of the victims. IMRC partnered with a local organization Laxmigacha Janakalyan Samity to assess and distribute the relief items. Hafizur Rahman, Secretary of organization Laxmigacha Janakalyan Samity, was the representative who assisted with the implementation. With an appeal to the public, IMRC was able to distribute 15 days’ worth of essential foods, materials, baby food, lanterns (lamp run on kerosene oil) and other relief items on April 13th. Each family received a food package containing local food items such as rice, potatoes, mustard oil and spices and more. All 13 students received new study materials, school supplies and bag.
IMRC’s next step is to plan for rebuilding the burnt homes. Alhamdulillah, the villagers are happy to receive such generous support and relief assistance. They have even agreed to assist in rebuilding their own homes have declined any cost towards labor payment.
(Disclaimer: TCN is the Media Partner of IMRC.)