NewsPoverty on the rise

COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented rise in poverty over the past year throughout the world, including in Bangladesh.

A household survey conducted by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) in November-December 2020 shows that the poverty rate in Bangladesh has increased from 20 percent in 2019 to 42 percent by the end of 2020. Particularly the parents in our slum project have been hit hard; they are active in the garment industry or informal sector and many have lost their jobs. To support these parents, we can help them invest in rickshaw vans, rickshaws and sewing machines in the coming months thanks to donations from the Banyan Trust. This will enable them to keep up their family’s income to some extent.

Most schools have been closed for a year now, which is a huge loss for our children. It remains unclear when the government will allow schools to reopen. Alternative education of 30 minutes a day broadcast on TV is offered by the government, but many families do not have a TV or electricity. In addition, most parents are not sufficiently able to teach their children at home. However, the children in Bangladesh don’t have to repeat the year; they have all moved on to the next grade. It remains to be seen how many children (with and without disabilities) will return to school. Many girls have been married off and will never finish their education.

Inclusion and education in the community

Fortunately, thanks to our veranda schools, we are able to provide care and education to all children at least once a week. The veranda schools create more inclusion in the community, writes a villager: ‘before there was a veranda school in our village, there was little understanding of children with disabilities and their families. Now they are no longer ignored and they are part of village life’. These are lessons we have learned before in remote areas and that have now been confirmed on a larger scale. We will incorporate them as we continue to develop our work in Bangladesh.

learn more on our Covid-19 support

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