“We are persecuted and poor Christians and now God has given us 50 low-cost houses for 50 families. Therefore we give our heartfelt thanks to Barnabas Fund.” Ruth Murmu, from Gaibandha District, Bangladesh, spoke to Barnabas’ project partners on Tuesday 30 July – the day that phase 2 of our project to rebuild homes for persecuted Santal Christians was completed.
The Santal Christians of Bangladesh, despised and desperately poor, had suffered a grievous blow on the night of 6 November 2016. That was when police, firing rubber bullets and assisted by local Muslims, evicted a whole Christian community and set fire to the wooden shacks in which they had been living. At least 5,500 were made homeless.
Will you help with phase 3?
Phase 1 and phase 2 of our project have together provided 100 new homes, giving security to around 400 Christians. But thousands more Christians are still homeless. Will you help with phase 3?
Each phase provides 50 one-room houses, made of brick with corrugated metal roofs, along with 12 shared toilets and six shared tube wells.
The new houses of phase 2 are just three-minutes’ walk from the local church. This will enable the Christian families to worship regularly and be built up in their faith, after all they have endured because they bear the Name of Christ. The stability of a safe and solid home, and regular church attendance, will mean they “can grow mentally and spiritually because of having the provision of God in their lives” says our project partner, who oversaw the building work.
We praise God for the generosity of Barnabas Fund supporters and for the completion of the building work, despite the terrible monsoon rains and widespread flooding which have afflicted Bangladesh for a month. Another challenge was a significant increase in the costs of raw materials, including bricks, iron rods and cement, plus a rise in labour costs.
A church committee has selected the 50 homeless Christian families who will be rehoused in the phase 2 houses. They will move in as soon as the flood waters recede, because until then the toilets are not useable.
Bangladeshi Christians are thrilled with the completion of phase 2. Already the local chairman of the Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church is talking of phase 3.
The estimated costs for phase 3 will be:
One-room house £1,400 ($1,700; €1,550)
Shared toilet £200 ($240; €220)
Shared tube well with hand pump £150 ($185; €165)
Please give now so that phase 3 can start soon.