Geographically Chars are few detached lands in Bangladesh, which are surrounded by river water and detached from the main land. That is the definition of Char. The riverine Chars in Bangladesh have not been in the focus of development of the public and private agencies. Char dwellers are living along with hunger, flood and river erosion. There are no Government / non government hospital facility, higher secondary school, even primary school.
Electricity is not present in any char. After sunset or late in the evening darkness covers entire chars. If anybody becomes sick, there is no doctor and hospital, no transport. In that case one is to carry patient with small wooden bench and have to walk Km after Km and cross the river by boat. Service ferry boat is the only means to cross the river and reach the main land. There are around 350 chars raised in Jamuna, Brahmaputra, Tista and Dhorola Rivers in Gaibandha and Kurigram districts and 2.5 millions of families are living in these chars.
Every year they are affected by natural disaster like flood and river erosion and thus lose their properties and become poorer to poorest. They fight back to find a place in newly accredited lands to begin their livelihood with courage. They are perpetual victims of natural hazards and living under poverty.
After 2004 flood in Bangladesh, GK has started post flood rehabilitation and development activities in chars of Gaibandha and Kurigram districts. And there after in 2006, GK started Integrated Char development Program with the financial support of FSC (France Support Committee) and PKSF (Polly Karma Shohayak Foundation), CLP, Christian Aid and Bashati Trust Foundation. Integrated Char development Program consists of Health, Education, Seasonal loan and Cooperative bank activities. Today this program is operating at 68 Chars in 29 Unions of 16 Upazilla under Gaibandha and Kurigram districts covering over 10,000 families.