350,000 children live on Dhaka’s streets, where they’re forced to fend for themselves, and struggle to survive. Many have been abandoned or are escaping violence, but some come from families that are so vulnerable that they have been forced onto the street. It’s no place for a child. The street is where they’re exposed to abuse and exploitation, and unable to receive an education to improve their future.
Since January, our street children’s outreach centre has begun supporting 50 young children – including 15 girls. In partnership with Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), we’re helping them to have a safe space, recreational facilities, and awareness sessions covering the topics of child rights, exploitation, hygiene, abuse, trafficking and child marriage so that they have the knowledge to protect themselves.
Changing the lives of vulnerable street children
We’ve helped Abir, 10, who was working at a photocopy shop when we spoke to him. Our outreach officer spoke to Abir’s employers and helped them understand the importance of giving children time to play and receive an education. Now, Abir attends our outreach centre for two hours each day, where he plays, has a free lunch, and works on learning to read, with our help.
We’ve also begun providing 15 children with an informal education. All were out of school before we approached them, and when pandemic restrictions ease, we’ll expand to include more children in our education programme. We’re working to provide 36 older children with vocational training, and helping 45 young adults to find a job where they are safe and valued.
12-year-old Lizi used to spend her day selling vegetables at the market, helping her family to earn enough to survive. We spoke to her parents and advocated the importance of education. Since then, Liza has been visiting our centre for a couple of hours each day, where she has a nutritious meal and attends classes with new friends that she has made.
Help us continue to transform lives
We’re here for the long-term. We’ll be supporting street children in Dhaka at least until the end of 2023, by which time we aim to have 250 children enrolled. With enough support from you, our generous supporters, we’ll be able to keep supporting children like Abi and Lizi for years to come.