Care Society was established in1998 to promote rights of persons with disabilities. It expanded its remit in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, to advocate for the rights of women and children, and to help build the capacity of community based organisations and assist the victims of natural disasters. To date, it is the only NGO in the Maldives that has specifically made disaster risk reduction one of its objectives.
Working with Action Aid International, Care Society initiated the Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program in the Maldives , which ran from 2005 to 2008. It worked on 17 islands, striving to reduce the psychosocial damage of the disaster, to support livelihood recovery and sustainability, to strengthen communities and institutions to secure rights and reduce vulnerabilities and to ensure just and accountable governance. The key approach of the project was to build resilient communities in the islands as a long-term strategy to shape the future of island communities. It focussed on constructing disaster resilient buildings, such as schools, that can be used a safe shelters. It also introduced a play-based method in eight schools in tsunami-affected islands, in partnership with the ministry of education, thereby helping shape a resilient generation. In addition, it focussed on engaging the younger generation to preserve the environment, and recycle garbage, to stay safe at home, and to remember the do’s and don’ts during and after a disaster. Care Society also helped build three agricultural nurseries were built with seed-banks on the top floor, designed to be disaster resilient as food storage for emergencies. In the agricultural component of Care Society’s programme, over 1,673 households were targeted by providing plants, pesticides, and fertilisers, under the guidance of agricultural experts based on the islands. Care Society has also trained community first responders on the islands in search and rescue techniques, fire safety and first aid.
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