Of the 168.9 million people in Bangladesh, 31.5% live below poverty line. This is one of the world’s poorest, least developed nations.
Extreme weather conditions affect the low-lying, delta region with regular flooding and storm-force winds threatening people, livestock, crops and livelihoods.
We work in the community of Horintana. Bisected by the Kazibacha River, the area is prone to flooding and both transport and communication are difficult. The nearest city is the river port of Khulna.
The majority of the population eke out a grinding existence as day labourers, fishermen, landless farmers, tricycle pullers, boatmen and small traders.
Children often start work as young as ten – they must start earning their keep. Families are often large to help earn an income and parents struggle to provide basic necessities for them.
What are the challenges?
Malnutrition, poor health, poor sanitation and a lack of safe, clean drinking water – few accessible healthcare facilities.
Low literacy rate (as low as 58.5% for women) and limited availability of schools. School fees are not a priority for vulnerable families – a low appreciation of the importance of education means many children are hired out as day labour alongside their parents.
We have centres in Horintana and in Kolatala. Both are cyclone-proof buildings that double as pre-schools and community centres. A third centre has just opened in Dacope Union. Our partners, supported by Global Care, operate a total of seven pre-schools across the area, offering basic education and giving children the skills and motivation to go on to formal government schools.
In Horintana we also care for up to 30 orphaned and abandoned boys at the Home of Love.
We encourage self-sufficiency and empower local families to develop sustainable incomes. Initiatives include: chicken egg farm, fish lake, a goat scheme, micro-finance project for local enterprises, water melon and other fresh produce.