Why this project?

Jessore is a medium-sized city in the southwest of Bangladesh. Slums have sprung up around the city. That is where people who have fled the countryside, unemployment, and poverty live, in search of better opportunities in the city. Yet, moving to the city comes with new forms of hardship. Everyday life remains a continuous fight. Most children living in the slums spend their days in the city. Some may live on the streets. In some cases, this is because parents make long working days, and therefore cannot take care of their own children. Many of these children never go to school, or stop early because they are unable to follow the curriculum. Rather, they roam the streets in search for the occasional job, to contribute something to the family income. As well, the city attracts children without a home. These children hope to find companionship in the streets of Jessore. They can merge with the masses, and the city offers more opportunities to earn something. Without parental control, these children are vulnerable. They have a high risk to fall victim to criminal activities, trafficking and sexual abuse.


'Ensure Child Rights and Development through Education' project

Partner organization Development of Health & Agriculture Rehabilitation Advancement (DHARA) helps children to avoid these dangers by offering an alternative. DHARA has developed a training program for children aged 9 to 15 years who do not fit in with regular education, either because they never entered regular education programms, or because they fell behind and dropped out. DHARA now has 10 schools, where every year 300 children are taught in language and mathematics. In addition, DHARA focusses on empowerment. Not only the children, but - if possible - the whole family is invited to get involved. Families are supported in how they can organize themselves so that they can better defend their rights. Attention is paid to human rights and children's rights, how they can protect themselves against the dangers of the streets, and how children and families can improve their economic position. DHARA initiates and maintains contact with the press, local politicians, and the local middle class to strengthen the position of street children. An additional component of DHARA's program is the provision of basic health services. All children are vaccinated, and both parents and children receive health education and small-scale medical care.


Parent participation

DHARA values the active involvement of parents. From the selection onwards, the organisation strives to make parents and other caretakers part of their program and activities. Parents are kept informed of the developments of their child, and opportunity is offered to discuss private issues. In addition, training courses are offered to the parents. These training courses relate to education, safety, income generation, human rights, and health education.