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Date, Venue & Participants:
On February 26th, 2020, Al-Falah Bangladesh & Council of Minorities (CoM) hosted a Community advocacy meeting at Ummul Qura High School Adamjee Camp Narayangong. A total number of 35 participants including 13 female and 22 male of Adamjee Camp attended the meeting.

Project overview:
The project “Empowerment and inclusion of Urdu Speaking Bangladeshis in the main stream society” is focusing on effective citizenship within The Bihari camp communities. Following a 2008 high court decision, Biharis are recognized as citizens and most of all have obtained national ID cards, which provide the basic proof of citizenship. The aim of the project is empowerment of the community based organization CBO and organized series of advocacy, community dialogue and round table on effective citizenship and inclusion in the main stream society of Bangladesh.

Objective of the meeting:
The purpose of the meeting was to identify the exiting problems inside the camps and community and way forward to the rehabilitation with dignity. The recommendations identified in this meeting would be the basis of future community dialogue, round table and media advocacy discussion.

The meeting opened with a welcome speech made by Mr. Sonu Islam the president of Urdu Speaking Rights Movement (USRM). He has briefly described about USRM and the partnership with Al-Falah Bangladesh and Council of Minorities in this project and he has introduced Khalid Hussain project lead of the project “Empowerment and inclusion of Urdu Speaking Bangladeshis in the main stream society”. Following his introductory speech, project lead Khalid Hussian has welcomed to all members of the community and community leaders. Project lead briefly described about the project, legal and socio economical condition of the camp based Bihari- Urdu Speaking Bangladeshis. After that he has opened the existing camp and community problems in the floor and engaged the participants to high light and discusses the camp and community problems and find out the possible way to resolve the issues and problems and brainstorm the strong recommendations against the camp and community problems in the meeting.

Open Discussion:
Discussions have been started with Mr. Mohammad Rakib a young resident of Adamjee camp said that, our major problems is disorganized electricity cable inside the camp.  Our electricity cables are disorganized in every lane inside the camp and it cause accident in the camp. Mohammad Arman a Secondary School Certificate SSC candidate has died with electric shock. Even it is dangerous during the rainy session everywhere electric cables are hanging in the lane. We need immediate resolve this issue otherwise camp dwellers will face more accident.

Mr. Mohammad Ainul a resident of Adamjee camp said our electricity power always in threat of disconnection form the power supply authority. We are facing several loads shedding problem in every day. Due to unemployment our youth are engaging with drug selling activities. Even some time local drug mafias are forcefully engaging the camp youth.

Mrs. Rozina a resident of Adamjee Camp described that, we are living in poverty line and it is hard to manage 3 time meals for our family. Due to poverty our kids are not getting higher education and they are engaging in odd jobs.

Mr. Mohammad kamal a social worker and resident of Adamjee camp described the educational and economical problem of the camp dwellers. He said a large number of camp students are dropping off from the high school. Camp dwellers are extreme poor and their earning source is very limited which is not enough to send their kids in school, college and university. We are Bangladeshi citizens but deprived the basic rights as citizens. We have focus on economical development. If our economy will be stable then we can fulfil our basic need and reduce the dependency.

Mr. Liaqat Hossain, Adamjee Camp Chairman described on his speech” Since Pakistan period we are living in Adamjee area because we were the worker of Adamjee Jute Mill. We have many problems inside the camp among them are housing, unemployment, education, water sanitation, electricity cut off and camp eviction. In our daily life we are living in the threat of camp eviction and cut off power supply. We are demanding our rehabilitation inside our camp and it is possible to rehabilitate Adamjee Camp dwellers inside the camp land because currently we are living in 37 accors of land which is sufficient land for the rehabilitation of 2,400 families of Adamjee Camp.

After the participants open discussion Mrs. Monowara Begum, Councillor ward # 4, 5, & 6 of Adamjee Narayangong deliver her speech and said, I am always concern about Adamjee Camp dwellers and every time i try myself to do better for the camp dwellers. Even I believe here so many problems existing but we have to try to resolve together don’t wait for government action; try resolve the problem within community level. As some of you mentioned about the drug selling inside the camp. I am promising you; I am with you if you want to fight against drug issue. Any time you are welcome to take action against drug. Others problems you have mentioned i will try to discuss with our Mayor and i believe she is very willing to help Bihari Community. I don’t believe that you are minority i must say you are majority because you are Muslim and we are Muslim we don’t have any differences just only language. You can speak in your language if you feel comfortable.

Problems Identified:
During our open discussion camp residents identified some most vibrant problem which they are facing in their daily life. Problems are as below:

Problem Cause Demand
Lack of adequate Housing ·      Camps are small in size but a large number of Camp dwellers are living

·      Camp housing are old structure and almost damaged

·      Construction of existing house and lane of the camps

·      Permanent rehabilitation with dignity

Drugs Selling ·      Due to unemployment and poverty camp youth are engaging in drug selling

·      Local drug mafia forcefully engaging the camp youth

·      Immediate action from local law enforce agency

·      Establish anti drug protection committee

Unemployment ·      Lack of higher education

·      Lack of professional skill

·      Economical crisis

·      Skill development program

·      Develop small entrepreneur scheme for the camp youth

Cut off electricity ·      Overuse of electricity

·      Using without pay

·      Government should provide some subsidiary on electricity bill

·      Stop load shedding