People living in poverty are on the frontline of this climate crisis. They are losing food, water, homes and family. Every day, they walk further, dig deeper and build stronger to survive. They battle the worst of a crisis they did not create. This is unjust. But a better way is possible. This Lent and Easter we stand together with those on the frontline, like Faith and Shikha, to fight for justice. Together we stop this climate crisis.
Faith’s fields used to be dirt and dust. The ongoing drought in Kenya meant next to nothing grew. Water was scarce. Droughts are now more frequent and more intense there due to the climate crisis.
Without water Faith and her husband, Steven couldn’t grow crops. Without crops, they didn’t have enough to eat or sell. Hunger was a reality. Sending their children to school an impossibility.
The weather has changed because when I was young, there was a lot of rain and food was plenty. Today the rains are very poor. There was also a lot of livestock and today there are very few.
- Faith Muvili.
But now Faith grows crops that are lush and green thanks to a nearby dam. Her local community got together to build the sand dam with the support of Christian Aid’s partner ADSE. The dam gives Faith’s community resilience in times of drought. A water source like this gives people like Faith a chance to not just survive, but thrive.
The dam gives Faith’s community resilience in times of drought. While the rains remain irregular, a dam means that when the rain does fall the community can collect every last drop. Because there is now water in Faith’s community, there is life. Faith’s hard work and determination has transformed this resource into a future for her family.
Faith said: ‘The sand dam has made me and my family happy because when it was not there, I was not able to plant anything. Now we can plant vegetables and water our trees. I hope that by the time my children grow I will have done a lot of things. I’ll do my best to educate my children and my children will be what they want to be when they grow up.’
Drought still remains a threat to Faith as the climate remains uncertain and unpredictable. It is unjust that people like Faith are battling the worst of a climate crisis they did not create. But for now, she at least has the tools she needs to adapt. With the dam, her fields stay green and her family has a hopeful future.
Shikha lives in one of the regions of the world that is most vulnerable to climate change. In her village on the coast of Bangladesh, cyclones now are more frequent and more likely to be devastating.
Shikha and her family were lucky to come through the most recent storm – Cyclone Bulbul. ‘We couldn’t be in bed because everything was shaking,’ Shikha says. ‘The wind was so strong the earth was shaking. We were very scared.’
During storms, Shikha tries to reassure her children as best she can: ‘I tell them there are always cyclones attacking different areas.’ Yet each time, she knows that her livelihood, her hopes, and all the progress she’s made in lifting her family out of poverty, could be literally blown away.
For Shikha’s family, it is only a matter of time before the next cyclone batters on their door. Not only that, but job opportunities were largely limited to things like farm labouring and fishing. Now climate change is destroying even these poorly-paid sources of income. Crops aren’t growing, because storm surges have drenched farmland in saltwater. There are fewer fish, as more people turn to catching them and water temperatures get warmer.
Will you help mums like Shikha and their families?
Crab farming has already been a great success in Shikha’s community. Crabs thrive in saltwater – and are a foodstuff in high demand. With training and start-up funding to buy the materials she needs to begin a crab farming business, a mum can earn more than she ever has before. So crab farming is helping women beat poverty as well as climate change. Having their own businesses is also giving them greater independence, helping to change traditional ideas and increase their equality with men.
And even if a cyclone should damage a woman’s crab farm, with your support and a community of local crab farmers behind her, she can rebuild, restock, and bounce back.
Here in Bangladesh, your support could mean that when the next cyclone strikes, a mum will feel less fearful for the future. She’ll be able to tell her children that whatever damage the storm inflicts, their future won’t be crushed.