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Community kitchen: A place for sharing for Rohingya women

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Rohingya women cooking at one of the community kitchens at the Jamtoli refugee camp at Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar, on Monday, February 19, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

Six community kitchens were set up by Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) with the financial assistance of international NGO Christian Aid at the Jamtoli Rohingya refugee camp

The community kitchen, initiated on a pilot basis in Jamtoli Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya two months ago to keep the dense makeshift huts out of fire hazards, is becoming popular amongst Rohingya women as a common place for sharing with each other.

The Dhaka Tribune found such community kitchens — a common cooking point for at least 25 Rohingya families — only at the Jamtoli camp out of 12 camps of the two upazilas in Cox’s Bazar.

The space provides cylinder gas ovens to the Rohingya women, there are also nature-friendly locally made ovens for the time when the cylinders run out of gas.

Six community kitchens were set up by Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) with the financial assistance of international NGO Christian Aid.

A field level monitor from GUK visits the community kitchens every day to monitor the needs of the Rohingya women, said officials of the organization.

GUK Community Mobilizer of Jamtoli camp Md Forkan said: “The Rohingya women now do not cook in an open or congested space that they did earlier. It reduces risk of sudden fire hazard in the camp and environmental degradation caused by deforestation.”

The Rohingya women who are now using the community kitchen hailed the initiative.1-1

One of the community kitchens at the Jamtoli Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar, Monday, February 19, 2018 | Dhaka Tribune

During a visit to two community kitchens named “Joba Rannar Sthan” and “Shapla Rannar Sthan,” the Dhaka Tribune found that the Rohingya women were chatting with each other while cooking.

Mamtaz Khatun, 60, a Rohingya woman, said: “Earlier we had to go to the forest to collect firewood as no fuel was available. It would take two-three hours every day.”

“Locals got angry when we cut trees but we had no choice. We had to do that for three months. Many days we could not even cook because we had no fuel,” she added.

Another Rohingya woman, Asma Khatun of Mong E Daung village under Buthidaung township in Rakhine state, who lost her son and brother during the crackdown of the Myanmar Army last August, was upset all the time and did not talk much after coming to Bangladesh with 12 other family members. But she has recovered from the trauma thanks to the community kitchen, said her neighbour Moriam Begum.

“When we cook here, we also share our emotions and needs. Then we help each other as much as we can. This is like a sharing hub for us,” said Mamtaz, mother of four.

Humaira Akter, field level monitor of GUK, said: “This kitchen facility has become a place for Rohingya women to share their stories and promote social harmony and psychosocial well-being.”1-2

Rohingya women talk amongst themselves while cooking at one of the community kitchens at the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar on Monday, February 19, 2018 | Dhaka Tribune

“We are happy having the cooking space. Those who come to cook here are from different parts of Burma [now known as Myanmar]. We exchange knowledge and ideas, including recipes,” said Tahera Begum, another Rohingya woman.

GUK’s Health Promotion Officer Esmat Jahan said: “The Rohingya women cannot raise their voices and express feeling at home in most of the cases, but they do that here.”

The Jamtoli camp’s site management authorities are considering setting up 200 community kitchens for 11,471 families of the camp.

Md Monir Uddin, zone coordinator of Jamtoli camp, said: “We have launched the facility to solve cooking problems in Rohingya communities. The camp lacks cooking fuel and space for which the dwellers are not having good food, giving rise to health hazard and domestic violence.

“We are providing spices, water and fuel (gas, charcoal, or diesel) to the kitchen. Different authorities have visited our common cooking spaces and planned to install such facilities in their camps,” he said.

“The kitchens empower Rohingya women and girls, who are often housebound due to cultural and religious norms. They have found a place to gather, share and speak up,” said Monir, who is also a zone coordinator of Christian Aid.

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GUK Received an Award from Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

It is our great pleasure to let you know that Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) has received a prestigious Award-2016 of Bangladesh government for contributing lots in the field of disability mainstreaming through it’s different initiatives. On behalf of GUK, Shamima Mahmuda Yasmin, Member Secretary of Executive Committee received the award from honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 3rd December. We think that we achieved this honor as a result of enormous support from our valuable donors, partners, government officials, people’s representatives, journalists, other stakeholders and persons with disabilities with whom we work. We express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you and also seeking your cordial support in future so that we can do more for the development of persons with disabilities.

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গণ উন্নয়ন কেন্দ্র (GUK) – এর পুরষ্কার অর্জন
গণ উন্নয়ন কেন্দ্র (GUK) প্রতিবন্ধী ব্যক্তিদের জীবনমান উন্নয়নে বিশেষ অবদানের স্বীকৃতিস্বরুপ বাংলাদেশ সরকারের সম্মানজনক পুরষ্কার-২০১৬ অর্জন করেছে। ০৩ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১৬ তারিখে ঢাকাস্থ ওসমানী স্মৃতি মিলনায়তনে আয়োজিত ২৫তম আন্তর্জাতিক ও ১৮তম জাতীয় প্রতিবন্ধী দিবস উপলক্ষে আয়োজিত বর্ণাঢ্য অনুষ্ঠানের মাধ্যমে মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা সংস্থাকে ক্রেস্ট ও সনদপত্র প্রদান করেন। সংস্থার পক্ষে পুরষ্কার গ্রহণ করেন নির্বাহী পরিষদের সম্মানীয় সদস্য সচির শামীমা মাহমুদা ইয়াসমিন। আমরা মনে করি দাতা সংস্থা, সহযোগী সংস্থা, সরকারি কর্মকর্তাবৃন্দ, জন প্রতিনিধি, সাংবাদিক এবং যাদের সংগে আমরা কাজ করি এমন প্রতিবন্ধী ব্যক্তিগণসহ সংশ্লিষ্ট সকলের আন্তরিক সহযোগিতার কারণেই আমাদের পক্ষে এই সম্মানজক পুরষ্কার অর্জন করা সম্ভব হয়েছে। তাই আমরা আমাদের সংগঠনের পক্ষ থেকে সংশ্লিষ্ট সকলকে আন্তরিক কৃতজ্ঞতা জ্ঞাপন করছি এবং সেইসাথে সকলের শুভকামনা ও সহযোগিতা কামনা করছি যেন আমরা ভবিষ্যতে প্রতিবন্ধী ব্যক্তিদের উন্নয়নে আরও বেশী অবদান রাখতে পারি।

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গণ উন্নয়ন কেন্দ্র (GUK) The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bangladesh এর অর্থায়নে UNFPA এবং আইন ও সালিশ কেন্দ্র এর সহযোগিতায় ASTHA (Strengthening Access to Multi-sectoral Public Services for GBV Survivors in Bangladesh) প্রকল্প বগুড়া জেলায় (বগুড়া সদর, নন্দীগ্রাম ও সোনাতলা উপজেলা) বাস্তবায়ন করবে। উক্ত প্রকল্পের Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) ১৫ মে, ২০১৮ তারিখে ব্রাক সেন্টার ইন, মহাখালী ঢাকায় সম্পাদিত হয়।

GUK is going to implement Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands funded and UNFPA & ASK supported ASTHA (Strengthening Access to Multi-sectoral Public Services for GBV Survivors in Bangladesh) project in Bogura (Bogura sadar, Nandigram & Sonatalal upazila) district. Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) of the project held on 15th May, 2018 at BRAC Centre INN, Mohakhali, Dhaka. 32602553_1836154286504102_6421385611176837120_n

 

 

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আজ ১৬ ডিসেম্বর মহান বিজয় দিবস ২০১৭ উপলক্ষে গণ উন্নয়ন কেন্দ্র (GUK) গাইবান্ধায় ব্যতীক্রমধর্মী এক বর্ণাঢ্য পতাকা র‌্যালির আয়োজন করে। র‌্যালি উদ্বোধন করেন জাতীয় সংসদের মাননীয় হুইপ জনাব মাহাবুব আরা বেগম গিনি এমপি। বিশেষ অতিথি হিসেবে উপস্থিত ছিলেন সম্মানীয় জেলা প্রশাসক জনাব গৌতম চন্দ্র পাল, পুলিশ সুপার জনাব মাশরুকুর রহমান খালেদ বিপিএম, জেলা আওয়ামীলীগের সাধারন সম্পাদক জনাব আবু বকর সিদ্দিক এবং বিশিষ্ট সাংস্কৃতিক ব্যক্তিত্ব উপাধ্যাক্ষ জনাব জহুরুল কাইয়ুম এবং বিশিষ্ট মুক্তিযোদ্ধা ও সুশীল সমাজের প্রতিনিধিবৃন্দ। র‌্যালিটি দেশের গানের সঙ্গে জাতীয় পাতাকাসহ শহরের প্রধান প্রধান সড়ক প্রদক্ষিণ করে। এছাড়াও সকালে স্বাধীনতার বিজয় স্তম্ভে সংস্থার পক্ষ থেকে শহীদ মুক্তিযোদ্ধাদের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধাঞ্জলী অর্পণ করা হয়।

GUK organized an exceptional colorful flag rally at Gaibandha today to celebrate the great victory day 2017. Honorable Whip of Bangladesh Jatyo Sangshad Ms. Mahabub Ara Begum Gini MP inaugurated the rally while honorable Deputy Commissioner Mr. Gautam Chandra Pal, Police Super Mr. Mashrukur Rahman Khaled BPM, General Secretary of district Awami League Mr. Abu Bakar Siddique, reputed cultural activist Vice Principal Mr. Zahurul Quayyum, prominent freedom fighters and civil society representatives were present as special guests. The rally marched the main roads of the town with country song and national flag. Besides, the organization paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War at the Shadhinatar Bijoy Stamva.

 

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গণ উন্নয়ন কেন্দ্র (GUK) এর আয়োজনে দিন ব্যাপীস্ট্যান্ডিং অর্ডার অন ডিজাস্টার এবং ডিজাস্টার ম্যানেজমেন্টবিষয়ক প্রশিক্ষণ ২৮ অক্টোবর, ২০১৭ তারিখ থেকে জিইউকে প্রশিক্ষণ কেন্দ্র, নশরৎপুর, গাইবান্ধায় শুরু হয়েছে বিভিন্ন বেসরকারি উন্নয়ন সংস্থার ৩০ জন প্রতিনিধি প্রশিক্ষণে অংশগ্রহণ করছেন

GUK has organized 3 day long training on ‘Standing Order on Disaster and Disaster Management’ from October, 28, 2017 at GUK training centre, Nashratpur, Gaibandha. 30 representatives from different non-government development organizations are participating this training.

 

Miscreants set on Fire to Kunderpara Gana Unnayan Academy

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Some miscreants set on fire to “Kunderpara Gana Unnayan Academy” high school building in the mid night on 26th January, 2017. As a result the school building along with furniture, education materials and important documents are totally damaged. Presently, classes are going on in the school field in makeshift made with flood shelter materials and education is being hampered.
Here it is mentionable that Kunderpara is an isolated island (char) in the Jamuna & Brahmaputra river which is 16 kilometers north-east from Gaibandha district town. As there was only few primary schools, so there was less opportunity of education for children here. Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) constructed a flood shelter here after the flood of 1995. Afterwards GUK started 3 years long 9 Non Formal Primary Education (NFPE) centers in this area for deprived and school dropped out children where a total of 297 children got opportunity to receive primary education. However, as there was no secondary school, there was no scope for these children to receive further education after completion of primary education. Parents of these children then demanded for secondary school so that they can continue their children’s education. In this circumstance, GUK established this secondary school in 2003 with own finance on the flood shelter in Kunderpara with the support of community people. Presently, a total of 597 students from Kunderpara, Batikamari, Hashdhara and Kharzani islands are studying in the school. Since the establishment, a total of 150 (male-90, female-60) learners completed secondary education from the school and receiving higher education in different institutions and many are doing job. Moreover, 77 students are taking part in this year’s SSC exam.