Nārī Bāri: Bangladesh's Feminist Factory of Disaster Relief Housing

“Climate justice is when women – especially in the Global South – have their voices heard in climate debates and conversations” (Sostine Namanya, 2019).

As part of atelier PRAXXIS, my feminist position centres around climate justice and how women are impacted disproportionately by climate change. Looking through an intersectional feminist lens, these impacts are especially acute for those living in disaster-prone areas. Bangladesh is regarded as the 7th most vulnerable country to climate change, with predictions stating that by 2050, 1 in 7 Bangladeshi’s will be displaced. As a result, the lives and livelihoods of women and girls in Bangladesh are increasingly vulnerable as they are more likely to be victims in disaster scenarios and are at greater risk of gender-based violence, poorer health outcomes and reduced education opportunities in the aftermath. Furthermore, as climate disasters accelerate, women are often left out of the climate conversation, leaving them in the “shadow of climate change”.

To respond to this and to the project brief, my proposal is Nārī Bāṛi: Bangladesh’s feminist factory for disaster-relief housing. ‘Nārī Bāṛi’– translating to ‘Women’s Home’ in Bengali – proposes a factory for Bangladeshi women that have been negatively impacted by climate change to both work and learn, creating job and skill-learning opportunities.

The factory produces Marina Tabassum’s (Bangladeshi Architect) disaster-relief housing prototype named the ‘Khudi Bāṛi’ (‘Tiny Home’), flat-packed and ready to be distributed when needed in climate crisis situations. The prototype is also tested on-site in collaboration with the women, Marina Tabassum Architects, local construction workers/designers and a further range of international students and architects.

My feminist factory proposes a place of safety and support, where marginalised women have the power to increase their own resilience and contribute towards the effort of helping others adapt to a new, formidable climate.­