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Thin threads | by amirjina
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Thin threads

The previous month, there had been a flood in this village. One way that people prepare for floods is to lift all of their precious belongings onto a raised platform (called a Matcha) inside their houses. This woman had received warning about this flood very late. She quickly put all of her belongings on the matcha. She also put her one month old daughter up there, while she ran out of the house to move the animals to safety, to find her husband, and to save what little food she could from their fields. When she returned less than an hour later, her baby lay dead, fallen from the matcha into the rising waters.


Outside her house, hearing the muffled clack of a pedal-powered sewing machine, I saw a small grave with some simple toys resting on top.


Peoples' lives in rural Bangladesh often hang by a thread. In households too poor to do anything but grow food for themselves (and perhaps a little extra to sell if there is a good harvest), what happens when those crops, their only lifeline, are destroyed by a flood, or a cyclone? Protecting their livelihood is the highest priority.


A sewing machine can provide alternate sources of income so that families have income not totally derived from their vulnerable crops, and perhaps can even save money. Diversifying their income like this helps them to not only reduce disaster risk, but also to help them adapt to a changing climate as explained in the previous picture. It cannot make up for their losses, but it can make those losses less over time.


To see why I was in Bangladesh click here, or take a look at the previous or next photo in the series.


If you are interested, please view the series to see what I found and what I learned in my few weeks in Bangladesh, visiting some of the most vulnerable people anywhere on our planet.

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Taken on July 6, 2009