The project to support child laborers and marginalized youths in Dhaka, Bangladesh offers extremely disadvantaged and at-risk children, whose lives are severely impacted by the hard work in factories, sometimes up to 16 hours a day, and the related abuse, exploitation, and violence an opportunity to attend night school and through education secure a better future with strengthened rights. The school gives the children hope and support and their families see the vital necessity of providing their children with an education.
The 5- to 18-year-old child laborers receive daily instruction in the subjects of language, mathematics, and science every evening except for on Fridays and on holidays.
The seventeen-member strong school management committee (SMC) along with local community leaders, parents, teachers, and social representatives meet once a month (with COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns) to review ongoing work and advise on further activities.
For 275 children in the night school and for the other 95 children in the mobile Quality School, instruction was available either online or in person. Importantly, all 370 children were able to maintain access to education either through in person learning, online courses, or thanks to the support of teachers who made house visits.
The most important goal in these trying times of COVID-19 was and remains offering formal education while addressing the stigmatization and social isolation of the children. Through access to education, violence, mobbing or discrimination – that sadly belong to everyday life of these child slaves – will hopefully be eradicated and a healthier lifestyle can be promoted.
Despite “hard Covid-lockdowns” from January 2021 until June 2021, renovation work continued and three washrooms and toilettes, the kitchen, and a common room could be finished. A water pump and a water tank were installed to improve the cleanliness and water supply of the school and its surrounding area.
In March 2021, school supplies such as notebooks and pencils were distributed to students from Grades 2 to 8 and flipcharts were acquired to assist with teaching. Food items such as rice, oil, potatoes, juice, sugar, and milk along with cooked options (“Khichuri,” “Biryani,” as well as prepared meat and fruits) were distributed to the poorest of the students who suffered additional hardships due to COVID-19.
While keeping with Covid related restriction, several community-building activities took place including a school celebration for independence day and a “fruit festival” to give the children a feeling of normalcy. School exams took place and children were prepared for the PSC (Primary School Certificate) tests. Also, hearing test for the students took place which identified several hearing difficulties among some of the children.
Some of the mothers of the child laborers support a literacy class for adults.
The project includes a second program focusing on life-skills education for young women:
A newly equipped training center is available for this purpose. Official governmental permission was granted, and employees were recruited. The students have already completed computer courses in English, and textile related classes dealing with alterations, needlework, and batik. Thirty-one students have successfully completed the „Life Skills Counseling Training” course.
The YOU Foundation is optimistically continuing the work of the project “Program for Child Laborers and Marginalized Youth.”
Help give the poorest slum children an education!
Project “Bangladesh: Nightschools” (please select when donating)