Couple of shivering cold waves (below 10 degrees) lashed one of the poorest and northernmost districts, Nilphamari in the month of January, 2015. Cold breeze and bone-chilling wind with harsh conditions of little heat in homes and less clothing around the bodies increase the suffering many times in the areas.Bracing the sufferings around the clock, forgotten widows, widowers, orphans, among others suffer beyond description, especially across the prolonged night, sleeping on muddy floors, walking on bare feet in these marginalized communities.Over the few weeks of January, Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARSO) was forecasting fiercer winter bringing freezing Himalayan temperature over the North Bengal.Addressing the crises, Community Development Team of South Asian Youth Society (SAYS) ran a drive in form of a project called ‘Sharing Warmth– Connecting Humans for a Humane Cause’ in Domer sub-district, Nilphamari.
The Says Community Development Team distributed around 500 blankets in Domar Upazilla of Nilphamari district. They have traveled a distance of nearly 400 kilometers or more from the capital in almost two days. As there was no transport available due to infinite nationwide blockade and deadly strikes, SAYS Team managed to travel all night and day by train, mini trucks, rickshaws and vans or whatever they found to reach out the destination. Finally in the morning of 14th January they have distributed the blankets among the neediest people of Domar’, said Head of Community Development Team Mohammad Hasan Tushar while talking to the Bangladesh Today.
Says volunteers collected funds from their campuses, friends and well wishers in a period from December 05, 2014 to January 10, 2014. And the volunteers were supposed to launch the blanket distribution program on 26th December, but political instabilities compelled us reschedule the drive in mid January, said Towfique A Khan, President and CEO of SAYS.
Miseries defeated the imagination. High degrees of malnutrition reflected in those rural faces. Children standing on bare legs seemingly dressed more for summer than for winter. Moreover, Foggy weather along with cold breeze from the Korotoa River incited many of the seasonal and preventable diseases, e.g. respiratory diseases (e.g pneumonia, viral influenza and hypothermia) . The people from both Panchagar and Nilphamari do not have enough warm clothes to cover their bodies in this nail biting cold. Sitting around the pits of campfire and basking under the sun are their usual ways to fight back the extreme cold. These many blankets just addressed the tip of the iceberg, still many to get the warmth clothes, at least to sleep satisfied, said Omar Foysol Pavel, Community Development Team member.
Winter largely a season of picnics, excursions and hiking along the countryside or entertaining with all festivals and delicious ‘pithas’ but at the same time, it has atrocious faces too bring miseries to millions of our people. The overwhelming deprived share of the countryman fall prey to frigid claws of rambling winters. In this regards, SAYS launches drives for winter cloth distribution every year. And the SAYS volunteers who execute these events, time to time enjoy a solid taste of community volunteering, while enjoying northern landscapes, walking over the dried northern highlands, visiting historic sites of ancient values.