"Bangladesh has been a distinguish exemplar on how to adapt to climate change impact and the effectiveness of responding to extreme weather events and extra ordinary achievement in reducing climate change vulnerability through adaptation", said the British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson.
The British High Commissioner made the following remarks as Special Guest of the virtual launch of the book titled 'Building Resilience to Climate Change through Craftsmanship', organised by BRAC Climate Change Programme.
He also said, "People who are most vulnerable to climate change will be made worse off in future to due to increasing climate change impact and we have been working in Bangladesh in reducing the impact through our support in various sectors access to food, Water, sanitation, education and health."
"BRAC with Aarong is building resilience of individual by supporting artisans in order to support their families and link the village people with commercial market making it more sustainable" he added.
The book illustrates the ways BRAC's sister concern, the Ayesha Abed Foundation, works to transform communities from areas at risk from climate change into ones that are resilient. The book features stories from the lives of 14 artisans, offering an insight into their sufferings due to climate change.
In addition, it also goes on to portray their lives' struggles, and how through employment at the Ayesha Abed Foundation the artisans took opportunities to utilise and maximise on their potentials and skills.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP graced the webinar as Chief Guest.
Chaired by Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh, the webinar was also graced by the presence of Dr Ainun Nishat, adviser to the Center for Climate Change and Environmental Research and Ex-Vice Chancellor of BRAC University; Tamara Hasan Abed, managing director of BRAC Enterprises; Kate Sangster, first secretary of the Australian High Commission and head of DFAT, and others.
Chief Guest Saber Hossain Chowdhury remarked "This book is not just a publication. It's a story of Bangladesh. Bangladeshis has the natural ability to confront adversity and smile."
"Climate change impact will intensify and the recurrence of the climate hazards will increase in future. It is not practically possible to completely mitigate the impact of climate change. But we can fight through it by building our resilience and that's exactly what BRAC has been doing" he added.
He further said, "Aarong is helping people to help themselves in building their resilience. Occurrence of multiple hazards at the same time is always going to test our ability to adapt to the adversity imposed by climate change. Initiative like this is what sustains Bangladesh by building the resilience of its most vulnerable people"
Partaking in the discussion on the published book, Tamara Hasan Abed said, "The book portrays the stories of Aarong's artisan living in climate change hotspots and greatly impacted by climate change. The stories in this book resonate the deep connection Bangladesh has both with its heritage crafts and rivers that fed this land."
"Climate change impact is felt by us all. These are the stories of people who are worse affected by the impact of climate change and now they have learnt to adapt and live. These are stories behind the labels that many of us have hanging in our closet" she added.
Kate Sangster said, "Climate change affects the poorest particularly the women and girls. What's beautiful about this book is that it shows how decent and dignified work can help vulnerable people give back the autonomy that will help them to absorb and cushion the shocks of climate change and thus build their resilience in the process."
Asif Saleh mentioned, "Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and the people who live in the districts showcased in this book are being hit the hardest. The stories of these artisans are testament to that, illustrating the impact that sustainable livelihoods."
Notably, the Ayesha Abed Foundation currently has 15 production centers and 696 sub-centres spread across the country where products for Aarong are manufactured. Most of these production centres are situated in areas under risk from climate change.
The book can be found in the following link: https://brac.net/downloads/resilience.pdf