Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she wants to make sure that everyone in Bangladesh gets their own home, land and address as her government continues working for inclusive development.
“My aim is to make sure that not a single person remains homeless in Bangladesh,” she told the Bangla service of Voice of America in an interview aired on Tuesday, sharing how the idea of Ashrayan project came to her — giving equal ownership rights to the husband and the wife of a landless family.
The Ashrayan project — home for the homeless — is seen as a “Sheikh Hasina Model” for inclusive development.
Responding to a question, PM Hasina said she has made good on her commitment and 10 lakh families have received homes. “If we count, around 35 lakh people got permanent shelters.”
She said they are not just giving homes to the homeless, people are also provided with cash support with necessary training to get involved in income generating work and opportunities to sell their products in the market.
The prime minister remembered her countrywide visits in 1981 when she helped people get homes in some places. But she saw that those homes were sold by them after a few days.
Then she thought of some ways so that the helpless people do not need to sell off their homes.
She also shared her experience of visiting St. Martin's Island after a cyclone in 1997 where she found 70 families without homes.
Awami League leaders came forward with their land when she wanted to build homes for them with the support of Bangladesh Navy. “I designed the houses. That’s how it began.”
The prime minister said she made sure that ownership of the home goes to both the husband and the wife.
If any problem arises between them, or if the husband abandons the wife, the ownership will go to her, she said.