With World Vision's support lives have been changed even in the most difficult circumstances
Read the stories below to learn more about how, with your support, World Vision can continue to work in emergency situations providing help and assistance to the most vulnerable.
When Cyclone Sidr struck on the night of 16 November, 11-year-old Rika Haider’s home was ripped apart and tossed into the nearby marshland by the force of the wind.
"Our house was blown away like a toy," Rika told World Vision relief workers a couple of days after the night’s events. “We found it [later], but without a roof and a wall. My father and mother started screaming, as we were too."
On the night the cyclone hit, the family ran for their lives in search of a safe place to shelter.
“As I was running behind my parents, I saw trees and big branches falling down,” remembered Rika. “Once I was lifted up and thrown against a tree by the wind. The tree stopped me. I rushed screaming towards my parents. My mother helped us across the knee-high swamp.”
Fortunately, the family survived the cyclone. But when they returned home the next day, they and their neighbours found devastation on the clearing. Their possessions were scattered and destroyed among the debris; their supplies were ruined. They were homeless and had nothing. Hundreds of families from Kandi, their village, suffered the same fate. The day after the storm, World Vision was on the ground, distributing packs containing enough emergency supplies to last a week – including food, soap and blankets – among 20,000 families in Kandi and in the wider district of Gopalganj.
Thanks to large-scale preventive measures alerting the people to go to concrete cyclone shelters, the death toll remained low. But Cyclone Sidr left hundreds of thousands homeless and overall affected the lives of some 8.9 million Bangladeshis. Recognising the need, World Vision stepped in to help those families to reconstruct their lives. Rika’s family was provided with some corrugated iron sheets, so her father could begin to rebuild their home.
While parents were busy starting their lives anew, children could play and get over the emotional trauma of the cyclone in safe Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) set up by World Vision. Many farmers received agricultural assistance and training to help them to plan a more secure source of income for their families.
Five months on, Rika remembers the cyclone as a bad dream. For a long time, she was afraid to walk to school, fearing to be swept away by the wind. Now she is a regular attendee of Kandi Primary School as a Grade 4 pupil. She is proud of her new home, which her father, Kalipada, has just finished.
“My father rebuilt our home with the iron sheets that World Vision gave us,” Rika said. “We needed a house, and now we have it.”
Considering Rika’s family are amongst the poorest ones of the village, World Vision provided them with additional financial support and helped them to build a new house.
“I don’t know how I could have rebuilt my house without World Vision’s assistance,” Kalipada said. “Because I am to consider my family first, and I must put food on the table. And it is hard to manage to build a house by myself when I spend the day labouring on the rice fields.”
Rika is confident about the future. “I hope that with support from World Vision and effort from my parents, my two sisters and I will grow up with education and proper care,” she said. She has her own plans for her life: “I want to become a nurse and serve patients.”