Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh - population 1.4 million - and it is within the Ganges Delta in the south-east of the country. In 2009 Cyclone Aila hit the area and caused widespread devastation to the countryside, forcing many people to move to Khulna in search of shelter.
The city itself is a major economic hub and is at the heart of industrial and commercial activity in the area. Agriculture and shrimp fishing also continue to be important sources of income and employment for many people in the region.
Infrastructure development has not kept pace with the growing population of Khulna and this has begun to affect the lives of people throughout the city. Health services, education and the electricity supply are all stretched to breaking point.
Migrants are often the worst affected. Most live in the slums on the outskirts of the city and have no access at all to safe drinking water or a functioning sewer system. Most earn a precarious income from informal activities, like sorting rubbish or driving rickshaws, and struggle to offer stability to their children.
Poverty is widespread in Khulna and children are the ones who suffer most in this situation. Poor parents often struggle to provide for the most basic necessities, such as food and clothing, and education is a luxury that few can afford.
Often, children are forced to go out to work from a very young age, meaning they do not get the childhood they deserve. Many have lost parental care entirely due to poverty and many others are at risk. Without parental support they will struggle to fulfil their full potential.
How we are helping the children of Khulna
Our SOS Children's Village is 2km from the city centre on the main road to the city's harbour. We opened in 1982 and since that time we have worked closely with the local community to improve the lives of children here.
We know that a strong and supportive family is the best place for children to grow up. So, our family strengthening programme helps families that are at risk of breaking down to stay together and give their children the support they need.
We work with local agencies to make sure that all children have access to essential educational and nutritional services as well as healthcare, through our medical centre. We also offer a range of courses on topics ranging from knitting to nutrition and a day care centre for working parents.
When children are unable to stay with their biological parents, they can find a loving home with one of 16 SOS families in our Children's Village Khulna. They live here permanently until they are old enough to move out on their own. When they reach this age, they can move into the SOS youth programme and continue to receive support and advice from SOS Children.
A lifetime of education
With illiteracy levels at an estimated 41%, there was great need for improved educational opportunities in Khulna. The SOS school here provides education up to secondary level for as many as 495 children from SOS families and the local community.
For young men, the SOS vocational training centre in Bagerhat, just 30km away, teaches courses on agricultural production and processing. This will enable them to earn a stable income in the future and provide for their own families.
Will you do something amazing today, and sponsor a child in Khulna? Your sponsorship will ensure a child receives a loving home, education and a future to look forward to.