Winter in Bangladesh is getting harsher by the year. With the conditions rapidly worsening, people, especially those living in the northern regions of Bangladesh, have been suffering greatly. Last year, the temperature reached an all time low of 1 degree Celsius in the northern districts, killing hundreds and severely damaging the health of many more. As we look forward to this season as an opportunity to laze around and show off fashionable winter wear, there is a majority of people dreading this time and all the ailments it brings. Surviving this season is a challenge for these underprivileged people.
Can we do something about the appalling numbers of victims brought forth by this cold weather? Yes. Inspired by Scholastica Class of 2014's “Fight Against Winter” Initiative, Footsteps launched the event “A Heartwarming Winter” on 27th December, 2013 to aid the people of the northern district of Rangpur, one of the coldest regions in Bangladesh.
Around two hundred volunteers and coordinators set off, visiting different houses and apartments in the neighbourhood of Gulshan and Banani, offering people an opportunity to donate. This initiative proved to be quite efficient for there are always ample amounts of winter clothes to be donated but very few of us know where to donate or how to go about it. Donations ranged from clothes to money to anything that donors believed would make a difference in aiding the underprivileged suffering from the bitter cold. The donations are then to be distributed in the remote areas of Rangpur by the organisers and some volunteers after the event.
The turn-up was overwhelming, especially considering that this was the organisation's debut event. The organisers used the platform of Facebook to the fullest to grab attention and consequently drive this event to an absolute success. The crowd concentrated on the age group 15-19.
The event ended with a ceremony, at which IUCN country director, Ishtiaque Ahmed; United Nations Negotiator for Climate Change, Quamrul Chowdhury; and President of OGGRO, Farzeen Ferdous Alam, were present. The Initiative was supported by the British High Commission, IUCN, Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, Food Factory, Aristopharma, Forum of Environmental Journalists Bangladesh, Asia Pacific Forum of Environmentalists and OGGRO Agamir Bangladesh. The event was successful in collecting up to three trucks full of clothes and a substantial amount of money. Safe to say: Rangpur will be a little warmer this winter.