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A Real Change-maker: Story of Dipankar

‘Shibsha’ is a name of panic to the local community in Dacope upazila of Khulna district. The horrible hunger of gutsy Shibsha never stopped. Hundreds of families in the countryside are getting helpless because of the river erosion every year.

Diponkor Mondol was born in a small village called Kakrabunia beside the Shibsha river in Dacope upazila of Khulna district. He passed his childhood by observing the bank erosion of calamitous river Shibsha. He was always thinking of how he could save his village and his helpless communities from the river erosion. In spite of having all the efforts from the local community, government, and NGOs, catastrophic Shibsha continuously melted township one after another.

In the fruition of time, the little boy Diponkor Mondol grew up and stepped at manhood. After getting married he became a proud father of a son. But Diponkor Mondol could leave his dream to save neither his community nor his son’s ultimate shelter from the gravel swallow of Shibsha river bank erosion.

ADRA Bangladesh implemented a one-year durational project by the financial support of the Swedish Mission Council and ADRA Sweden at 4 no. ward of Tildanga union in Dacope upazila named “Enhance Community Resilience Project (ECRP)”. The exceptional initiative of the project was to plant the mangrove sapling in the shore of 4 no. ward’s Shibsha river bank erosion area to create a mangrove forest in order to prevent the river bank erosion.

By the support of Diponkor Mondol and his community, ECRP project of ADRA Bangladesh developed a mangrove forest by planting Shundori, Gewa, Poshur etc. mangrove sapling in 1-acre river bank at Kakrabunia village in 4 no. ward of Tildanga union.

But unfortunately, after one year the project phased out. After some days the entire sapling died by the lack of maintenance. Only the empty fence left out.

But the real-life warrior Diponkor Mondol could not tolerate the failure. He with his wife Nobonika Roy (who was a volunteer of ECRP) started their fight to save the mangrove forest. They collected the seeds of mangrove plants from the river, which were washed away from the nearest Sundarban and nursing those in their own house to produce sapling. After the sapling grew up, they planted those to the mangrove forest. Later, ADRA Bangladesh started another project in the same area but in this project, there was no fund available for the mangrove forest. But nothing could stop Diponkor Mondol to give his dream a success. He and his wife were still working and nurturing the mangrove forest according to the instruction of ADRA Bangladesh project staff.

The hard labor of Diponkor Mondol had no bound. He was nursing those plants like his own child. Every morning after finishing his teaching class among the community children, he started his work at the mangrove forest without getting any honorarium from anywhere. He was giving the labor only for saving his community.

“I am doing this of my own consciousness and thinking of my civic duty. ADRA spent a huge amount of money here and in the lack of maintenance all the efforts are going to ruin. ADRA will not stay here forever but we have to live here for the generation. So, it is our civic duty to protect the resources. And in my personal view, this mangrove forest is the best initiative to decrease the river erosion in our locality. Everyone wants the achievement but achievement would not come without hard labor. I’ll be working on it as long as I live,” he explained.

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