DHAKA, Ashrayan Prakalpa, one of the 10 priority initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has become an evident means of alleviating poverty by rehabilitating and imparting professionalbased training to the homeless people.
Under the government's social safety net programme, around 2.75 lakh poor people have become selfreliant through participating in various incomegenerating activities after getting training, officials familiar with the project said.
The project, launched in 1997, has so far rehabilitated a total of 2,97,886 families in three phases across the country, they said, adding the first two phases of the scheme were successfully completed in 2010.
After proving proper training, the government has already given Taka 136 crore as loan to the rehabilitated families for ensuring their smooth participation in the incomegenerating activities.
Talking to BSS, Director of the Ashrayan2 Project Md Mahbub Hossain said the government has undertaken the scheme to give the homeless people to a meaningful life through providing shelter and assistance as well as alleviating poverty through involving them in incomegenerating activities.
He said the rehabilitated family members are getting skillbuilding training on various issues with the support from the Local Government Department, while Upazila Cooperative Offices are also providing revolving interestfree microcredit to them only at seven percent service charge.
They are making profits to raise their capital through smallscale business, animal husbandry, poultry raising, tree plantation, vegetables and fruit farming at homesteads, he added.
Mahbub informed that the government has been providing professionalbased training to two members of each rehabilitated family.
He said the government undertook the Ashrayan2 Project in 2010 aimed at providing shelter to around 2.50 lakh families at a cost of by the year 2019.
Under the Taka 4,840.28 crore scheme, he said, the government rehabilitated a total of 1,91,953 families from July 2010 till now.
Mahbub said during the period, a total of 864 villages got electricity connection and over 4.62 lakh trees were planted in the project areas, where the rehabilitated people are living happily with incomegenerating activities.
Apart from this, their children are going to schools to become worthy citizens of the country, he said.
The project director also informed that the government has a plan to extend the project for two years for fulfilling the target of rehabilitating 2.50 lakh families.
Due to various reasons, including taking time for data collection, the project is yet to fulfil its target. So the government has taken a plan to revise its DPP, he added.
Mahbub, also a joint secretary, said the activities of the project will be accelerated further in future to alleviate poverty for materialising the 'Vision 2021' and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Under the project, he said, the government has also rehabilitated about 70 leprosy patients at Bandar Bari Ashrayan Prakalpa in Gazipur district, and also constructed a Hijra Palli in Dinajpur Sadar upazila for the third gender people.
While sharing their experiences, the Ashrayan dwellers expressed their satisfaction over the environment of the project and thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for launching cooperative microcredit to change their fortune.
They said they got back a new life with dream of brighter future for children following implementation of comprehensive social safety net programmes by the government.
Mahbub also informed that under Ashrayan Project2, the government is constructing 139 multistoried buildings in Cox's Bazar to rehabilitate over 4,400 poor families being victims of climateinduced disasters, like cyclone, river erosion and landslides.
The government is erecting the shelters for climate victims on 253.35 acres of land near the Cox's Bazar Airport, he added.
In this area, the project director said, the government has also taken an initiative to develop a modern tourist zone and a distinctive dry fish market with a tower naming after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)