You’ll be enlightened, humbled & uplifted by a great cause

It’s Volunteers’ Week, a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make. Our volunteers support us in everything from events and fundraising to photography, design and architecture.

Meet a few of these amazing individuals:

Zoe.jpg

Zoe is currently supporting AzuKo to develop our income generation strategy as part of a BeyondMe team from Deloitte

Volunteering at AzuKo means sharing our networks, knowledge and passions, and knowing that somewhere in the world, something small that was said or done could at some point make such a massive impact to someone else’s life.
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Babul contributes to AzuKo projects in the northwest of Bangladesh, utilising his skills in design and architecture

Working on AzuKo projects is an opportunity to share thoughts, feelings, experiences and learn from others. I’ve learnt a lot about co-design and community engagement, as well as improving my English language skills.
Emma.jpg

Emma led a fundraising campaign for AzuKo to enable women to attend vital ‘build for safety’ training in Bangladesh

I give up my time to AzuKo because I have a deep concern for disaster resilience and humanitarian architecture. We’re raising money to teach women in Bangladesh how to strengthen their homes - it’s a tool for women’s empowerment.
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Ronnie co-designed the experience of AzuKo’s ‘Family Night’ event, to celebrate our work and impact

Volunteering with AzuKo always brings a smile. At their Family Night supporters came together to ideate - so many stories and laughter was shared. Great friendships were born that night. I’d encourage anyone to support AzuKo. You’ll be enlightened, humbled and uplifted by a great cause.

If you'd like to volunteer with us, visit our Work with us page >> and fill out the volunteering application form. We’ll be in touch when a piece of work fits your skills.

Nominate AzuKo

We need just two minutes of your time… the same time it takes to make a cup of tea! We’d love your nomination to help us win a £1,000 donation through the Movement for Good awards.

£1,000 will enable us to train 53 women to build for safety in rural Bangladesh.

A couple sat marooned by high water on Saturday in Khulna, Bangladesh [Munir Uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images]

A couple sat marooned by high water on Saturday in Khulna, Bangladesh [Munir Uz Zaman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images]

Bangladesh is at the forefront of climate change, experiencing floods, cyclones and earthquakes. However the underlying disaster is the desperate poverty in rural communities which forces people to live in hazardous locations and in poor quality housing.

Last week Cyclone Fani battered the southern coast of Bangladesh. Over 1.6 million people were evacuated to safety, 1,000 homes were destroyed and entire villages submerged. 15 people are known to have lost their lives. Simple strengthening improvements can cost just 5% of the total house construction cost and can provide resilience against floods and strong winds.

Our workshops offer technologies that are affordable, appropriate and available locally. They give people real choices and control over their lives and livelihoods. We focus on training women in rural areas, as they typically spend more time working within the home, maintaining and repairing it.

You could be the one that tips the balance

Simply complete this short form and enter our details:

  • AzuKo charity number: 1156354

  • Charity type: Poverty

Your nomination really counts - the more we receive the greater our chance of winning. Please do share with your friends and colleagues too. Thank you.

 

Rumar dreams of a better way

Today Rumar is cooking cauliflower and potato mash with rice and greens. At 22 years old she is responsible for preparing and cooking meals for her family of five. Like many women in her village in Dinajpur, Bangladesh, she faces real challenges in the home.

Her kitchen is only 3.4 sqm and is built on a raised earthen plinth which she protects from the driving rain as best she can. Without walls and a leaky roof, things are difficult in the monsoon.

An open kitchen
Earthen stove
During rainy season the kitchen floods. The roof needs to be repaired so I cook under an umbrella… I have to make sure water doesn’t get into the stove or the fire goes out.

Rumar makes and repairs her stove using a mix of earth and water. She worries about the open flames when her children are near and shows us burns she’s suffered from cooking this way. Her kitchen has flooded numerous times and burnt to the ground a few years ago due to a fire that escalated. There is no electricity or piped water supply.

Interview
We share a tubewell with our neighbours, so I carry the pots and pans outside to clean them after we eat. I store them in the house, otherwise the rats and dogs would come.

Her family can afford to buy a small amount of jute sticks and wood to fuel the stove every month, but when this runs out Rumar gathers leaves and twigs to keep it going. This wet material produces a lot of smoke. She cooks on a small stool, at least for now she is not in too much discomfort.

 
Plan of the homestead

Plan of the homestead

 

Rumar’s village is in one of the poorest regions of the country. Saving for home improvements is a struggle but she dreams of a better way - a kitchen that is safe and comfortable, a space that doesn’t fill the air with black smoke, a space she would enjoy cooking in.

In rural Bangladesh women spend much of their day in the home and within the kitchen, yet they are often not involved in its design. Their perspective is crucial. Kitchens are dark, cramped, unhygienic and poorly ventilated, contributing to chronic and acute health effects including lung cancer and diarrhoeal disease. They are leftover spaces despite the fact they are used from morning till night.

We are working with women like Rumar to co-design solutions that will improve their health and wellbeing. We believe Rumar holds the answers to the challenges she faces.

Help us empower these women to be design leaders in their communities. Donate to Heart of the home >>

Author: J Ashbridge