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  • Afroja’s happy family shares a laugh. Afroja’s happy family shares a laugh.

    Hatibandha Bangladesh

  • Malek and his friends run from school, books in hand. Malek and his friends run from school, books in hand.
  • A mother smiles at her baby boy, while holding him. A mother smiles at her baby boy, while holding him.
  • Rojina and Malek, brother and sister. Rojina and Malek, brother and sister.
  • A mother helps her daughter to hold her pencil and write. A mother helps her daughter to hold her pencil and write.

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Welcome to Hatibandha

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. But now thanks to your generous support, we are working with this remote community to change lives for children, families and everyone who calls Hatibandha home.

Together we have opened possibilities for the people in Hatibandha and a have wide range of programs underway. These investments in education, health care, gender equality, clean water and disaster preparedness are giving local families the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty and improve their own lives.

None of this would be possible without the partnership of sponsors like you. With your help, girls and their families in Hatibandha are on their way to a better life.

Meet the girls

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  • Lipi

    Meet Lipi

    • Age: 9
    • Siblings: 5 sisters
    • Water source: A small tube well that doesn’t supply enough water for the family
    • Distance to the nearest health centre: 1.5 km away but the road is poor and treacherous during an emergency
    • Means of earning a living: Lipi’s father does manual labour and her mother is a homemaker. Their daily household income is $2-3 per day.
    • Education level of parents: Illiterate
    • Education level of children: Lipi is in grade 3. Her 2 older sisters go to school, but the youngest 3 do not attend school due to financial constraints.
    • Uncertainty in her future: Lipi’s parents raised concerns about the risk of child marriage for their girls.
  • Morzina

    Meet Morzina

    • Children's ages: 15, 11, 9
    • Distance to the nearest health centre: There is a community clinic located 2.5 km away.
    • Condition of latrine: The family has a latrine next to their house, but it’s unsanitary
    • Means of earning a living: Mohammed is currently not working and borrows money from other community members to support the family. Maleka performs manual labour when the work is available.
    • Education level of parents: Mohammad studied up to grade 2 and Maleka has no formal education
    • Education level of children: The 2 youngest children are currently in school, but their oldest daughter never attended secondary school because the family couldn’t afford it.
    • Hopes and dreams: Mohammed and Maleka worry about not being able to provide education opportunities for their children due to low income. “If Plan will help to develop the condition of the road we will be able to work regularly,” says Maleka.

Facts about Hatibandha

Education

Only

29%

of students complete grade 5

Health

Newborn mortality

37/1000

live births

Child Marriage

Girls married by age 18

90%

Water

Safe drinking sources for children at school

0

Challenges and Project initiatives

Education

Two girls holding books in a classroom
  • Literacy rate is low at 42.47% (male 45.4%, female 38.9%)
  • Quality of primary education is poor, with limited classrooms and teaching supplies
  • Trained teachers are hard to come by since they live on the mainland and do not want to travel to the community during rainy season when they need to cross the river
  • Only 29% of students complete grade 5
  • Secondary schools are located on the mainland and can take up to 1.5 hours to reach on foot. In the rainy season (3-4 months every year), students need to cross the river by boat to get to school
  • Only 7% of secondary students are girls.
Two girls holding books in a classroom

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

Mother holding child
  • Access to maternal health care is inadequate leading to high newborn mortality (37 per 1,000 births) and maternal mortality (290 per 100,000 births)
  • Women travel long distances to the mainland to seek health care for their children the situation is even riskier during labour — as the trip to the mainland can be treacherous, especially in rainy season
  • More than 2/3 of births happen without the help of a skilled attendant.
Mother holding chilid

Infant and maternal mortality rates are staggeringly high in this community, where girls often marry as young as age 12. 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, breastfeeding and greatly improved maternal nutrition and infant care.

CHILD MARRIAGE

Young child bride
  • Child marriage is common, with 90% of girls married by age 18 (compared to 64% across Bangladesh) and puts girls at risk of violence, abuse, illiteracy and even death.
Young child bride

The vast majority of girls will drop out of elementary school and marry before the age of 18. That’s the vicious cycle of poverty at work, but together, we can change it. Thanks to your support 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.

DISASTER READINESS

Young child sitting in doorway
  • Hatibandha is prone to river erosions and cyclones
  • Schools often close for long periods of time during disasters and children experience regular interruptions to their education.
Young child sitting in doorway

River erosion and monsoons are frequent occurrences in Hatibandha. When they happen, families suffer. 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.

WATER

Young girl drinking water
  • No safe drinking source for children at school.
Young girl drinking water

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.

See how your support is changing lives

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