> Street Children - this project is Zakat applicable
The UN has reported that an estimated 385 million children live in extreme poverty, yet street children are one of the world’s most invisible populations. They often lack the necessities they need to survive and thrive, such as food, sanitation, education, healthcare and shelter. Although many street children show remarkable resilience in the face of unspeakable hardships, many studies show their sense of well-being to be generally low. Street-children often endure depression, anxiety and trauma, which may lead to substance abuse and a risk of suicide.
READ Foundation has established Drop-in Centres and Night Shelters for children in need in Bangladesh. This protects them from the dangers of child labour, drugs and sexual exploitation. Our staff are well-equipped with skills and expertise to support and protect them.
Help us continue providing that safe space.
> Bangladesh situation analysis
Bangladesh ranks at 136 out of 189 on the Humanitarian Development Index (HDI: 2019) with 67.3% of the total population living below the poverty lines, earning less than $3.55 (USD) a day. There is a lack of formal government statistics and data on street children, figures are usually altered as to the needs of the country’s political standing, as a result, it is difficult to map out the actual situation. Most NGOs rely on information from different studies carried out by other organisations. Findings in a report published by the UN stated that around 300,000 children live on the streets of Dhaka, with the numbers steadily increasing due to landslides in the neighbouring areas along the rivers, especially during the monsoon season. These children are vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse, hazardous work and trafficking.
Bangladesh signed and ratified the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children (CRC) in 1990, agreeing that all children have a right to life, survival and development. However, there are a lot of challenges that are yet to be overcome.
> Drop-in Centres & Night Shelters
The Drop-in Centres and Night Shelters focus on safeguarding street children by providing a safe space that protects them from potential risks. Our centre staff provide psychosocial support and vocational training. This enables the children to feel a sense of self in society.
READ Foundation takes a holistic approach to helping children stand on their own two feet and to lead better lives. The approach addresses the short, medium and longer-term dimensions of the challenges faced by street children. The key activities of the project are:
- Firstly, project staff identifies children at risk, preparing a personalised profile of each child’s individual needs. Immediate health care and counselling are provided.
- Secondly, the children are provided with an education, life skills and vocational training to enable them to live more productive lives. They participate in classes tailored to their own learning levels and requirements (for instance, some will have never been to school whilst others will be school drop-outs). For older children, vocational training is provided. Recreational facilities and cultural activities are also available at the centre. The DiC also works to facilitate the ‘next step’ for the children, for instance, arranging job placements or helping them into the mainstream formal education system.
- Thirdly, the DiC provides outreach services to the children’s families and wider community to reduce the risk of the direct beneficiaries falling back into dangerous situations. Counselling is available to the families of the children in the project.
- Lastly, the centre works collaboratively with other organisations to ensure that the children are able to access the full range of services to which they are entitled to (i.e. government health care services, linking children to micro-finance organisations), and to raise awareness about the problems they face. Each child receives 2 meals a day and have access to WASH facilities.
The Night Shelters are aimed to protect street girls from the risks associated with living and sleeping on the streets, by providing a safe and comfortable place to sleep, as well as all the facilities from the Drop-in Centres.
> How you can help
Any help you provide will have a significant impact on those valuable lives.