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Date, Venue & Participants:
On February 28th, 2020, Al-Falah Bangladesh & Council of Minorities (CoM) hosted a Community advocacy meeting at Nursing Training Institute, Saidpur. A total number of 35 participants including 6 female and 29 male from Seventeen camps of Saidpur 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 an introductory speech made by Mr. Majid Iqbal the president of Urdu Speaking Camp Development Committee. He has briefly described about USCDC and the partnership with Al-Falah Bangladesh and Council of Minorities in this project and he has introduced Miss. Seema Naz, Coordinator of the project “Empowerment and inclusion of Urdu Speaking Bangladeshis in the main stream society”. Following his introductory speech, Coordinator, Seema Naz has welcomed to all members of the community and community leaders. Miss. Naz briefly described about the project, legal and socio economical condition of the camp based Bihari- Urdu Speaking Bangladeshis. After that she 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. Abdul Halim a resident of Cinema Hall Camp Saidpur said that, our major problems are housing, electricity and sewerage system. Our houses are small and we are living with a large family member. Our camp lanes are very narrow and sewerages are open, during rainy session camps become flooded. We are using free electricity but now power supply authority disconnect our electricity in every month and during summer it is very hard to stay inside the camp without electricity.

Mrs. Sanjida a resident of Hatikhana Camp discussed about the camp environment and social stigma regarding marriage of camp girls. Due to the camp resident camp young girls are facing problem getting marriage outside the camp.

Mrs. Soni a resident of Munshipara Camp discuss about the issues of camp toilets, lacking of safe drinking water. She said “our toilets are completely unhealthy and most of toilets are open without door. We are drinking unsafe water and infecting in water disease.

Mr. Md. Ali a resident of Durga Mills Camp said, we are poorest community in Bangladesh. Most of camp dwellers are unemployed they are facing discrimination in job market. Our others vibrant problems are unhealthy toilet and open drainage.

Mr. Shahjada a resident of Rasulpur Camp said, I want to mention here two major problems these are poverty and housing. Camp dwellers are extreme poor and living in poverty line. They are not educated and professional skill so that they have to work as in informal sector. The housing condition inside the camp is very worst, immediate need to construction of the houses inside camps.

After the participants open discussion Mr. Mohammad Ershad Hussain, ward # 11 Saidpur deliver his speech and said, I am also belong to the Urdu Speaking Community. Now we all are Bangladeshi citizens and we have to love our country. I know camp dwellers are facing so many problems just because living in the camps. Now all the camp dwellers are voter and

You are casting vote in every election so that political parties have intension to do better for the camp dwellers. However, my suggestions are try build unity within community and motivate the camp dwellers to resolve camp existing problem themself. As we know education is one of the most important elements to come out from the poverty and the dark future. Our current government is much willing to resolve the housing issues of the camp dwellers and i am also, always ready to help community those are living in my constituency. I don’t do any discrimination as Bengali or Bihari. We all are Bangladeshi citizens.

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

·      There are no any government initiative to resolve the housing problem of the Camp dwellers

·      Construction of existing house and lane of the camps

·      Permanent rehabilitation with dignity

Toilet & Latrine ·      Large population and less toilets

·      Lack of proper maintenance

·      Old construction and unstructured

·      Construction of the new toilets

·      Increase the number of new toilets

Sewerage and drainage ·      Sewerage lines are disconnect

·      Drainage are open and overflowed

·      Construction of the sewerage line and drainage
Unemployment ·      Camp graduates are unemployed due to lack of professional education

·      As because of minority community they face discrimination in jobs market

·      Provide soft loan without interest

·      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