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Suffering Children in Bangladesh

Children in Bangladesh
More than 60 million children currently call Bangladesh their home; nearly half of these children live in deep poverty. Many families don’t have the means to support themselves, which contributes to the country’s high rate of malnutrition.

Severe weather conditions make food security non-existent. Even something as essential as water can be a rarity for some civilians. In addition, medical help is a challenge to receive among the impoverished. Vaccines are not a commonality, and mothers receive minimal to no information on childbearing.

This disconnection from medical assistance causes many children in Bangladesh to be undocumented. Consequently, Bangladesh does not recognize them as citizens. They are thus unable to protect them from abuse, forced labor, prostitution, early marriage or child trafficking.

Education is free and mandatory for all children in Bangladesh ages six to eight; however, laborers and the disabled hardly obtain an education. The impoverished youth who do have the ability to attend school may have to abandon their education early in order to support their families.

The legal working age is 14, but children as young as six are working 100-hour workweeks and making an average of less than $2 a day.

What is being done to eliminate this issue?

World Child Cancer estimates that nearly two million children in Bangladesh need medical care, but only 1% obtain it. They are working to train healthcare professionals to give children crucial care and provide a consistent supply of medication.

The ‘Bangladesh MaMoni Health System Strength Project’ is a 4-year USAID and MCHIP funded program. The Project works to supply health care, family welfare and reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. Through this organization, anyone can sponsor a child from early childhood to early adulthood. This will provide a healthy and safe place for them to live while supplying educational resources.

Bangladesh has begun to enforce major reforms in hopes to make their nation a middle-income country by 2021 to celebrate their 50th anniversary of independence. Bangladesh’s Vision 2021 and the associated Perspective Plan from 2010 to 2021 lays out the steps Bangladesh is planning to take. Bangladesh is working to lower the poverty rate to 15%; this will lift millions of people from poverty in the next eight years. In order for this goal to be met, income must be maintained, public investment must increase agricultural productivity and industries and services need to promote growth in high salaries. The nation’s goal may appear far-fetched, but from 2000 to 2010, the poverty level has lowered from 63 million to 47 million people, a 23% decrease. These new policies, combined with the financial help of civilians, are allowing more children to rise above poverty.

Nicole Hentzell

Photo: Flickr