"I volunteer because I love learning lifesaving skills. This is how I can support my community," remarks Tarin Akther from her school in Bangladesh. Tarin learned first aid and cyclone preparedness skills from the Red Cross and Red Crescent alongside 29 of her schoolmates at the South Khali Girls School in rural Bangladesh.
Tarin loves to learn and hopes to continue that into her future, saying, "I want to be a science teacher when I grow up." Tarin's teacher, Mr. Mohammad Shamil Hossain, has seen the confidence of his students grow as they learned new skills. "I saw a noticeable change in the students when Cyclone Fani hit. We used the school as an evacuation center and kids who also took shelter with the families here, knew what to do. They prepared the space to make people comfortable and distributed dry food and water. They even knew how to prepare the solar lights to be used during the emergency."
The American Red Cross works alongside the Bangladesh Red Crescent to prepare families living near the Bangladesh coastline and deltas for emergencies. The program -called Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction (Coastal DRR)- teaches basic first aid to students (ages 13-17) and community members; funds the construction of brick pathways that lead to cyclone evacuation shelters; know when/how to evacuate; and repairs broken water systems. Given many families live in houses made from tin, bamboo, and wood, these activities are especially critical.
"We are thankful for the Red Cross Red Crescent projects because the kids are acting as messengers to the community. They're teaching their families what to do during emergencies," says Mohammad Alamgir Hossen, a principal at one of the 20 schools where students are learning basic first aid skills. The objectives of these activities is to empower the community and mitigate their risks when they are exposed to storms, tidal, surges, floods, cyclones, and other emergencies.
Credits: Story taken from the field on July 3, 2019 by Jenelle Eli and photos by Brad Zerivitz - American Red Cross.