Sponsor a child in Bangladesh
After years of political unrest, the people of Bangladesh rely heavily on agriculture in a region where natural disasters such as heavy rain and cyclones frequently destroy huge swathes of farmland and force families from their homes. Against this backdrop, SOS Children has worked in Bangladesh since 1973, looking after children who have lost their parents and helping families stay together. Through education and vocational training, we are helping the next generation of children work towards a better future.
Sponsor a child with SOS Children to help orphaned and abandoned children in Bangladesh:Sponsor a child in Bangladesh
Slow progress and widespread poverty
Ongoing political upheaval and frequent natural disasters have resulted in a faltering economy since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Despite recent growth, Bangladesh is still one of the world’s poorest countries, with half the population living on less than a dollar a day. Agriculture remains the dominant sector despite attempts to build on service and industry. Unemployment may be relatively low, but well over a third of the population cannot get by on the work they have. Many lack access to safe drinking water and decent sanitation, and low standards of living leaves men, women and children vulnerable to the lure of human traffickers.
Millions of children born into a lifetime of poverty
Bangladesh has one of the lowest literacy levels in the world with nearly half unable to read. Although all children receive basic state education, this ends when they reach the age of ten. As in many poor countries, quality varies across the country, and tends to be much worse in rural parts. Nearly a third of Bangladesh’s 60 million children live without a parent, so many miss out altogether on the education they are entitled to, having to work for a living instead. Millions are exploited for cheap work, often in dangerous conditions and involving long days of arduous labour. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty, and one out of every ten suffers from malnutrition. Countless children grow up in slums, either with or without their parents, while others do not have a home, living on the streets instead. Because schooling is usually substandard and intermittent, most children can grow up expecting a life of poverty.
Our work in Bangladesh
Established in 1973, our Village on the edge of the huge city of Dhaka is at the centre of our work in Bangladesh’s capital city. As well as providing a loving home for children who have lost their parents, we work with members of the community to keep families together and prevent more children growing up alone and working to survive. Children from the Village and surrounding neighbourhood learn together in a school which provides education up to secondary level. Beyond that, young adults can choose from a whole host of subjects to begin a career in, including car mechanics, carpentry and engineering. With specialist skills such as these, children from the Village and its neighbourhood can look forward to better prospects than earlier generations by learning a valuable trade. Alongside this, we offer training to new SOS mothers and staff who help out in the Village, making sure orphaned and abandoned children in Dhaka always have someone to turn to.
Sadly, many of the children who come to our Village in Rajshahi arrive undernourished and in need of special care and attention. We provide specialist medical care to nurse them back to health, so that they are healthy and happy when they join their new SOS families. All the children at our Village here attend local schools where they can mix with children from the neighbourhood and grow up a part of the community. Later on, we provide vocational training to young people so that they are ready to join in the region’s agricultural work and help the local economy develop. Adults as well as children from the local community also have the opportunity to benefit from workshops at an SOS Social Centre where hundreds of local people can gain valuable training to help boost their careers.
Children from the local community and residents of our Village in Khulna learn side by side at our SOS School, which provides a firm footing for youngsters with a comprehensive education up to secondary level. As well as taking in children who no longer have a family of their own, we help local mothers earn a living by providing somewhere safe for their children while they are out at work. We also provide medical care so that children have a healthy life ahead of them.
We built our fourth Children’s Village in Bangladesh in Chittagong after severe floods left thousands dead in 1986. By educating children from a very early age and offering vocational training to equip them with the skills needed to find work, we help them become self-supporting when they leave our care. We also help to keep families in the wider community healthy by providing healthcare and food to those who need it. Daycare allows mothers the freedom to work, preventing further child abandonment by enabling families to support themselves.
In Bogra, a few hundred miles outside Dhaka, we give orphaned and abandoned children a loving family and educate them through to secondary level to prepare them for adult life. We provide counselling and support to children in the Village and families from the neighbourhood. Busy mothers out in the community benefit from daycare, allowing them to go out to work and earn a living to support their family. Medical treatment too helps children grow up healthy, in our Village and the wider community as well.
In Sylhet, we work with families in the community to help raise awareness of the importance of education in improving future prospects for children. We also run study centres to improve the quality of children’s education and our work has helped boost exam results from primary to secondary level. We are also working to make parents more aware of how to provide a safe and healthy setting for children as they grow up. With our help, parents learn about child protection and children’s rights, helping them deliver better parenting through enhanced sensitivity to their children’s needs. By focusing on the importance of safe water, sanitation, personal hygiene and the benefits of healthcare we are enabling parents create a safer environment for their children
At present we support over 7,600 people in Bangladesh through six SOS Children's Villages, five SOS Youth Homes, five SOS Nursery Schools, four SOS Schools, four SOS Vocational Training Centres and four SOS Social Centres.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Bangladesh: Debesh and Gobinda
Five-year-olds Debesh and Gobinda from SOS Children's Village Dhaka are identical twin brothers. The little ones are always bubbling with energy and are full of life. Their free, fluent movement express that they feel happy to have a secure home with lots of siblings and a warm, affectionate mother. All the time the brothers are smiling and playing. Their noisy activities can be seen and heard all around the Village. Debesh is very talkative and curious to know everything, "what are you doing mama?", "what is the colour of my shirt?", "where did you buy the apples from?" His SOS mother Patralika patiently answers all his queries. Gobinda’s queries are a little less frequent. He likes to spend more time with his battery-operated toy motorbike. “You’d better be careful and not get in his way," says Patralika, “no matter what he won't stop!”
SOS Children's Village International in Bangladesh
1, Shamoli, Mirpur Road Dhaka - 1207
Postal address: G.P.O.Box 546
Dhaka - 1000
Tel: +88/02/81 14058, +88/02/81 18189
Fax: +88/02/81 13217