Ashrayan Project - Fulfilment of a Dream of Sheikh Hasina 2023

Mohammad Rashed

Ashrayan Project: Fulfilment of a Dream of Sheikh Hasina

Ashrayan Project: Fulfilment of a Dream of Sheikh Hasina 2023

Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ashrayan Project in Bangladesh serves as a remarkable embodiment of compassion and empowerment. The Ashrayan Project was first launched in 1997 under the direction of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Ashrayan is a Bengali term that in English means 'accommodation' or 'house'. With a dream to alleviate poverty and provide dignified housing for the homeless and underprivileged, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's vision has shaped this project into a beacon of hope and progress.

History of Ashrayan Project

The history of the Ashrayan Project is a testament to the unwavering dedication of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government to uplift the lives of the homeless and underprivileged. On February 20, 1972 the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited the landless, homeless, and dependent families impacted by river erosion in Char Poragacha village in Ramgati Upazila of Laxmipur district (then under Noakhali district) and took necessary steps to rehabilitate them. On May 19, 1997 a powerful cyclone struck Cox's Bazar and other coastal regions. The Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Saint Martin of Teknaf Upazila and oversaw the relocation of the destitute families who had lost their homes due to the cyclone. In that year, the Honorable Prime Minister unveiled the "Ashrayan" project for the landless and homeless citizens.


In 1997, Ashrayan Project-1' was conceived and fully sponsored by the Government of Bangladesh. The project's aim was to help the cyclone affected people. The project was successfully implemented and lasted from 1997 to 2010.


As a part of 'In Aid to Civil Power,' the Ashrayan Project-2 was launched. The project duration was from July, 2010 to June, 2022. Ashrayan Project-2 aims to reduce poverty by providing rehabilitation and income-generating opportunities.


Under Ashrayan Project-3, the Government of Bangladesh is offering temporary shelter to Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) in the Vashanchar area of the Noakhali district. The location will be used for the rehabilitation of returned to their home nation. 

Khurushkul Special Ashrayan Project

The Khurushkul Special Ashrayan Project' at Cox's Bazar has begun as a part of Ashrayan Project-2. The Government of Bangladesh is developing Cox's Bazar airfield into international airport. 4,409 homeless climate-hit families were identified in and around that area, and they were planned to be rehabilitated at Khurushkul Mouza, near the Bakkhali river in Cox's Bazar Sadar Upazila.

Aims & objectives of the project

◆ Rehabilitation of landless, homeless, uprooted helpless poor people.

◆ Empowering livelihoods through training and financial support.

 ◆ Poverty alleviation through creation of income generating activities.

Holistic Development

At the heart of the Ashrayan Project lies the belief that holistic development is essential for sustainable change. Recognizing that housing alone is not enough, the initiative encompasses various facets of community development. In addition to two decimals (shotok) of land, beneficiaries also received a semi-furnished, two-room house with a free electricity connection, a kitchen and a washroom. There is one tube well for every ten homes. The recipients will thus be safeguarded from water-borne diseases like diarrhea. Community clinics are being built to meet their medical requirements. Primary schools have been established to ensure that children receive essential education. A playground is also integrated into the project area and is available for children and teens recreational and physical activities. The Ashrayan Project has every public amenity required for a self-sufficient modern village. Ten days of vocational training in a variety of professions are provided to the beneficiaries to increase their capacity and effectiveness as workers. Beneficiaries who live in the facilities are trained in 32 occupations, such as fish farming, carpet weaving, nursery labor, needlework, welding, and rickshaw-cycle-van maintenance. Throughout these training sessions, they are paid 750 taka every day to ensure that their income is unaffected. The recipients can apply for loans of up to 30,000 taka after finishing the course and develop their businesses or careers to boost their income. Under the VGF plan, families living in barracks would initially get three months of food aid. They get priority for benefits under social security programs for widows, old people, and maternity. Therefore, through numerous processes under this project, a poor person is established as a self-assured human resource.

'Sheikh Hasina Model'

The Sheikh Hasina model' refers to the distinctive approach and policies implemented by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh to drive socio-economic development in the country. The Ashrayan Project makes a substantial contribution to Bangladesh's struggle against poverty. This 

innovative approach to inclusive development and poverty eradication has already been labelled as the 'Sheikh Hasina Model'. The Sheikh Hasina Model's six defining traits are as follows-

◆ Economic self-reliance through increased earning potential and savings

◆ Restoration of a dignified way of life and social status

♦ Empowerment of women by giving half of the home ownership

♦ Human resource development through increased skills and capabilities by training 

◆ Environmental improvement through extensive afforestation and tree planting and 

◆ Ensuring city amenities in villages.

The implementation of the Ashrayan Project aims to uphold the provisions of Article 15 of the Bangladeshi Constitution, ensuring universal access to essential life necessities for all citizens. Additionally, this carries out Article 3.13 of the Bangladesh Awami League's 2018 Election Manifesto, which calls for the eradication of poverty, the reduction of inequality, and the assurance of everyone's right to a place to live. The promise made by the Honorable Prime Minister to resettle environmental and climate refugees is also being fulfilled. With the implementation of the Ashrayan Project, the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also being successfully achieved.

Beneficiary of Ashrayan Project

The Ashrayan Project extends its support and assistance to a wide range of beneficiaries, including landless, homeless, uprooted poor people, people displaced by natural disasters, ethnic groups, third-gender people, Dalits, Harijans and other socially underprivileged communities. This is the first and largest project ever to provide free housing for the state's poor people to reintegrate them into mainstream society. On the occasion of Mujibborsho, the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared- 'Not a single person in the country will remain homeless'. In May 2020, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the Home Providing Policy Guideline 2021'. On the occasion of Mujib borsho, government has constructed 2,38,666 houses for homeless and landless. Hanufa, a young woman, tragically lost her eyesight at the tender age of one and a half due to typhoid. Previously surviving by begging in Sirajganj city, Hanufa has now been provided with her own new house through the Ashrayan Project. I used to live on Wapda Dhal (embankment of water development board), in my life I never had a day that passed without having humiliation from others. My dream comes true, the Sheikh Hasina government makes my dream a reality,' she told a group of visiting reporters. She said, I'm so happy. This is going to be a different Eid- ul-Fitr for me. Through the Ashrayan Project, 5,55,432 families in total have been rehabilitated from 1997 to April 2023 in barrack houses, owner's land, and semi-pucca single houses on two dcml of khas land. 

In a world grappling with the challenges of poverty and homelessness, Bangladesh's Ashrayan Project shines as a remarkable example of visionary leadership and compassionate governance. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's dedication to social welfare has materialized in a project that goes beyond providing shelter-it provides hope, dignity, and a path towards a better future. The Ashrayan Project stands as a testament to the power of collective action and the transformative potential of addressing the fundamental needs of the most vulnerable in society. 

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