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Disaster Reduction - Meet Kazol, 'disaster prepared'



Opening title - 
End the cycle. of poverty and disability.
A community awareness initiative promoting human rights and empowerment of people with disabilities living in the world's poorest countries.
[People setting-up a set for filming in a village. The whole village is present. A young lady wheels herself into the picture using a wheelchair, she is smiling.] 

My name is Kazol Rekha and I am 23 years old.

In 2003, I had an accident. I fell off a chair and one of my vertebrae slipped and severed my spinal cord. Now I am paralysed.
[Young lady looks anguished as she discusses her paralysis. The film turns to illustrations to show her life story.]

Before the accident my life was good. I was living with my parents and going to school. 
[Illustration of a girl surrounded by her parents and two other men]

And then they both suddenly died. My brothers looked after me and arranged my marriage.
[Parents disappear from the picture, brothers remain. She is married to a man under a floral arch.]

However, after my accident, my husband left me and remarried. It was difficult and painful. I suffered a lot.
[She is alone in a wheelchair under the floral arch.] 

Previously, I was treated with affection by everyone in my family. But that all changed. I was neglected and I became a burden to everyone.
Life became much better for me once I was given my wheelchair. I used to be totally dependent on others but now I can get out and move around.
[Footage of Kazol getting around the village in a wheelchair.]

I received income generation training from a local development agency, in growing vegetables and rearing chickens and ducks then purchased a hand sewing machine and now draw an income by tailoring garments for people in my village.
[Kazol is mending clothe using a hand sewing machine. A client comes in and pays her for her services, then leaves again. Kazol is smiling.]

My house was modified to meet my basic needs, such as sanitation, making safe drinking water and my lavatory accessible. It was also raised to reduce the impact of the floods.
[Kazol goes up to a water pump, she starts using the pump. She then goes back down a accessible ramp in front of a house.]

When it comes to floods and other disasters, people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. There is generally wide-spread panic and in many cases, a person with a disability is forgotten and left behind. So now I am part of a disaster preparedness committee and we've made a list of all people with a disability in our area and we can take immediate steps to locate and evacuate them.
[Illustration of rain becoming a flood. Villagers escaping to higher grounds. A person in a wheelchair is left behind.]

I am also responsible for educating people about hygiene and general health when the waters hit, such as how to protect their food against insects and contamination. Previously I was afraid of the prospect of flooding, but now that we are prepared, I know what to do and I can face it.
[Illustration of the village, ticks appear identifying certain houses.]
[Footage of Kazol moving towards a group of villages and starts engaging them in a discussion. They are working on storing grains and flour.]

Now I am no longer a burden to my family and I am proud that I am a valuable and contributing member of my community.
[Kazol smiles to the camera. The camera and film crew start packing up the film set and leave.]

End credits -
Join the movement to: end the cycle of poverty and disability.


together we can do more

Australian Government 

End the cycle is an initiative of CBM Australia with support from the Australian Government.

Produced by Room3 for CBM Australia 
Copyright 2012

Kazol Rekha is a young woman living in a village in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh. She was paralysed after an accident severed her spinal cord. In this video she tells about her role on the Disaster Preparedness Committee, making sure people with disability are not forgotten when disaster strikes.

On 13 October, CBM celebrates International Day for Disaster Reduction. Before this date, we are highlighting stories from the DiDRR network's publication 'Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management'. This week, we want you to meet Kazol, a young women from Bangladesh, ready for the next floods in her village.

What is International Day for Disaster Reduction?

13 October: A not so obvious conversation. Living with disability and disasters ©UN ISDR
International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees International Day as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. International Day for Disaster Reduction is now celebrated on 13th October: a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). It's also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The 2013 theme for the day is Living with Disability & Disasters. Persons living with disabilities have unique contributions, often overlooked, to help reduce the risk of disasters. IDDR 2013 intends to switch on and amplify this critical issue of including the needs of persons living with disabilities now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

What is the publication about?

cover of the publication: Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management ©CBM
This publication presents disability inclusive disaster risk reduction by relating stories and testimonials of persons with disabilities acting as effective agents. This publication has been produced with the Disability-inclusive DRR Network for Asia and the Pacific (DiDRRN).

The document discloses good practices that illustrate the results of effective participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction activities. It also unveils how some organisations decided to include disability as an integral part of their policies and programmes.

Meet Kazol

Kazol is a young woman living in one of the villages in Sreepur United, Bangladesh. She is also a wheelchair user after an accident severed her spinal cord in 2003. In a prize winning video made by End the cycle / CBM, she tells about her role on the disaster management committee, making sure persons with disabilities are not forgotten when disaster strikes.
As a member of a community level Ward Disaster Management Committee in the rural flood prone area where she lives, she is an excellent example of transformation from exclusion to inclusion. From being someone who considered herself a burden to all, she has become a contributing member of her family and community, and from always remaining silent and confined to her house she now travels worldwide advocating for disability inclusive disaster risk reduction. From experiencing disempowerment Kazol now feels empowered.
Kazol is one of the active beneficiary of a project called: Disability inclusive Flood Preparedness. This project is implemented by CBM, the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) and Gona Unnayan Kendra (GUK). In Bangladesh there are platforms for many others like Kazol Rekha to employ their strength to support their community and get ready for floods.
Our partner CDD met Kazol again in September 2013 and shared their interview:

CDD: How have you contributed to prepare your village against floods?

Young women from Asia ©Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Kazol: I have shared my knowledge with my community; I have highlighted the importance of storing dry food, having a movable stove, safeguarding important documents, storing emergency medicine, raising the plinth of the house, latrine and tube-well above the flood water level.
If there is flooding, children, elderly people, pregnant mothers, women and persons with disability should get priority in rescue operations. I make sure everyone knows there is an accessible boat that can be used for this operation. I also shared about early warning signs that should be understood by all, including persons with disabilities: there are some pillars installed at our community to observe the flood water level from which they can take decisions when to move to the shelter or a safe place, and save their life!

CDD: How did you become so active in disaster preparadness?

A group meeting lead by a women on a weelchair ©Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Kazol: After my accident, I used to stay within the house. I had lost all confidence and led a life of seclusion. A field worker from the local organisation came to my house and asked my brother and I if we would be interested to attend a training course on disaster preparedness.
For example, when I learned from the training and orientation meetings that DiDRR initiatives will help persons with disabilities like me, I thought I should get involved!

CDD: What advice would you give to people with disabilities?

a group of people working around a map. the people are lead by a woman using a weelchair ©Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Kazol: Don’t accept defeat just because you have a disability. We need to demonstrate that persons with disabilities - if given the opportunity - can also contribute to flood preparedness just like any other member of the community.

CDD: Do you think your disability has in any way been also your strength to prepare your village against floods?

a young women working in a workshop ©Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Kazol: Yes, I was able to contribute: due to my disability I have always been forced to seek out alternative ways of accomplishing a task. This is why we can all bring different solutions, save our lives, save the lives of everyone in the community, regardless their ability.

More information

Disaster Reduction - Flood-proofing essentials

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013, CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Disaster Reduction - Five inclusive NGOs in action

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013, CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Disaster Reduction - meet Rashedul from Bangladesh

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR 2013), CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management

CBM and DiDRRN launch a key publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management, including good practice examples and 'voices from the field'


Disaster risk - CBM working to build more resilience

CBM is part of the DiDRR network to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in building resilience for the communities


GP DRR outcome statement includes disability

In May 2013 CBM and partners participated in the 4th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva


Humanitarian Action

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response


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