James Earley, Friendship and Bangladesh

James Earley on a wooden boat heading towards the Chars in Bangladesh

James Earley visited Bangladesh in May 2022 as a guest of the charity www.friendship.ngo. The purpose of the trip was to visit the most remote areas of Bangladesh, areas that are almost completely cut off and to see how they are being devastated by climate change and to see how the charity Friendship are working with the community to try and help the people survive and flourish even in this harsh environment.

The first week was spent in northern Bangladesh where a series of small islands known as The Chars are seeing increasing flooding which has huge consequences on their lives. The increasing regularity of the flooding has seen the community lose their homes and livelihoods. The people felt almost alone as their remoteness and isolation makes it extremely difficult for Government and other support so this is where the amazing charity Friendship steps in. Friendship is a charity that looks for the vulnerable, finds them and does everything it can to help these communities but the real reason for the success of this charity is that it works hand in hand with the community, it listens and it does not just tell the community what to do. Friendship have introduced schools, hospitals, agricultural advice, health advice and so much more to this community as well as providing a defence against the flooding by building raised villages.

James Earley, the Friendship team and the local community in The Chars

The second week was spent in the southern region of Bangladesh in areas that are so remote that the only way to get to these villages are by boat and motorbike. The real enemy here is the cyclones and the damage that sea water and salt have had on the land. In these regions where cyclones are increasingly more common due to climate change Friendship have introduced wide scale planting of mangrove trees which among its many benefits help protect against flooding and strengthens the river banks reducing erosion. Friendship have also built a state of the art hospital in this region, have provided assistance with education, health and also have offered advice and assistance on different types of farming on land which is now not suitable to grow most crops due to its salinity.

James is honoured and proud that he has been asked by Friendship to produce a series of 12 portraits which will help raise awareness of climate change and how it is hugely affecting these people of Bangladesh right now but also to show that there is hope and that when a charity works with a community, listens to them, respects their traditions and lifestyles and moves forward side by side with the community then good things can happen. These portraits will be on display later in 2022 in Paris, London and Amsterdam.

For more information on Friendship please go to www.friendship.ngo.

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