The program to support child laborers and marginalized youth in Dhaka, Bangladesh, provides access to education to extremely disadvantaged and vulnerable children whose everyday lives are affected by abuse, exploitation and violence due to their hard work in factories for up to 16 hours a day Night schools to give them a better future and strengthen their rights. The school gives the children hope and support, and the families also now see the vital necessity of providing the children with an education.
The 5- to 18-year-old child workers receive lessons in language, mathematics and natural sciences every evening except Fridays and public holidays.
A 17-member School Management Committee (SMC) and local community leaders, parents, teachers and social representatives meet once a month (with COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown) to review ongoing work and discuss further activities.
For 275 children in the evening school and for an additional 95 children in the “mobile” quality school, lessons were able to start and continue in either face-to-face or online training. All 370 slum children were given important access to education, either through online courses or face-to-face lessons or through the support of teachers during home visits.
The most important goal in these difficult times of COVID-19 was and is to offer pedagogical schooling, but also to counteract the stigmatization and social isolation of children. Violence, bullying or discrimination, which are terribly part of the everyday life of child slaves, should be prevented and a healthy lifestyle should be promoted.
From January 2021 to June 2021, despite the “hard Covid lockdown”, renovation work was able to take place and 3 washrooms, toilets, the kitchen and the lounge were completed. In order to improve the cleanliness of the school premises and the surrounding area and to ensure sufficient drinking water, a water pump and a water tank were installed.
In March 2021, teaching materials (exercise books and pens) were given to students in grades 2 to 8, and flipcharts with diagrams to help structure lessons were purchased. Food items such as rice, oil, potatoes, juice, sugar and milk, as well as cooked foods (“Khichuri”, “Biryani”, cooked meat and fruits) were distributed to the extremely poor students who are additionally suffering due to COVID-19.
While continuing the Covid-19 measures, various community-building activities took place, e.g. Independence Day was celebrated at school, a “fruit festival” was organized to give the children a feeling of “normality”. School examinations could be carried out and preparations were made for children to take part in the PSC (Primary School Certificate) examination. A hearing health check was also able to take place after various hearing difficulties were identified in some children.
Some mothers of child laborers also support a special literacy course for adults.
The project includes a “secondary project” Life-Skills Education:
A newly equipped training center is available. Approval was officially granted by the government and employees could be recruited. The students have already completed computer courses in English, tailoring courses, needlework and block batik courses. So far, 31 participants have successfully attended the “Life Skills Counseling Training”.
The YOU Foundation is currently continuing the “Program for Child Workers and Marginalized Young People” project with great confidence.
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Project “Bangladesh: Night Schools” (please select when donating)