Here, on a series of silt islands called the chars, families farm without the benefit of running water or electricity and far from most amenities, like schools, clinics, and markets. Natural disasters, such as monsoons and floods, only add to the hardship by damaging homes and properties, contaminating water supplies, and keeping children from school.
Even worse, gender discrimination and child marriage puts girls and women at a disadvantage, keeping them and their children trapped in poverty.
But with your help, we are changing this picture. Thanks to your generosity, we’re helping this community take on its challenges, one by one:
In Hatibandha, 2/3 of children do not complete elementary school, making education one of this community’s top priorities. Thanks to you, we’re helping children by:
- Training teachers and purchasing school supplies
- Installing separate latrines for boys and girls in primary schools
- Improving access to secondary education, especially for girls, by constructing girls’ dormitories and setting up boat services that can take teachers and students to and from school during the rainy season.
Maternal and child health
Infant and maternal mortality rates are staggeringly high in this community, where girls often marry as young as age 12. Adolescent pregnancies, a lack of maternal health care, literacy, and life skills for girls and women, combined with the fact that most give birth at home without the presence of a skilled birth attendant, create enormous challenges for women and girls living in poverty.
To address this crisis, we are working with Hatibandha to:
- Rehabilitate health clinics
- Purchase medicine and equipment
- Train local staff and volunteers to deliver emergency and obstetric care to women, along with tools and information to support better family planning, healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, breast feeding and vastly improved maternal nutrition and infant care.
Girls and child marriage
At the age the age of 13, when opportunities are abundant for girls in Canada, they are limited for girls in Hatibandha. The vast majority will drop out of elementary school and marry before the age of 18. Without a basic education, these girls have little chance of becoming independent women who can support themselves and their families. That’s the vicious cycle of poverty at work, but we can change it.
With your help, we are:
- Getting girls in school and working with the community on skills training, microfinance, and income-generating initiatives targeted at girls and women.
- Helping to raise awareness of gender discrimination and the importance (to everyone) of changing social practices and attitudes so that girls and women can take their rightful place as equal members of the community.
River erosion and monsoons are frequent occurrences in Hatibandha. When they happen, families suffer. Houses are damaged, crops and livestock are lost, and the already limited resources of community members are quickly depleted. Prolonged school closures only make matters worse, especially for girls who are often married off in desperate times. Disaster preparedness and recovery programs will dramatically improve the ability of families to get through these times without turning to desperate measures.
With your support, we are:
- Helping schools reopen quickly after a disaster
- Teaching children how to swim
- Distributing disaster emergency kits
- Educating community members on how to build disaster-resilient housing, store food, and protect their lives and property.
One of the worst impacts of flooding is the water contamination that follows, spreading sickness and disease, especially among children.
Our clean water and sanitation programs are helping schools build disaster-resilient latrines and implementing some basic and highly effective practices for safeguarding health and the local water supply.
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