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The future is here

Children participate in the planning

Children identify ways to improve their community

At Plan, our focus is on children and local participation, and our programs are at their best when the two are combined – which is why we support child participation in everything we do.

In communities like Hatibandha that struggle with extreme poverty, social injustice is widespread. Children are society’s most vulnerable members, and face tremendous discrimination – especially girls.

But we know that the denial of rights to children is not just one of the most devastating effects of poverty, it’s also one of its biggest causes. Children who are denied an education, health care and an opportunity to reach their full potential face insurmountable barriers to improving life for themselves and their future children. That’s the vicious cycle of poverty at work, but we can turn it around it by investing in children as powerful agents of change.

Getting there means giving girls and boys a seat at the table, a voice in the process and a new status as the community’s most valuable members. And in Hatibandha, it’s already happening.

“Before, nobody wanted to listen to us,” says Anjona, a local grade 7 student. “But when Plan came, they sat with us and gave importance to our opinions, and that felt really good.”

Shamim Kabir Patoari, head teacher of a local school, says he is impressed by how easily children have taken to thinking about development.

“Children are creating community resource maps and getting involved in civic groups,” he explains. “This has been my most meaningful experience so far – discovering that children are capable of so much more than we think. Plan’s work has just started but I am confident that children will play a very important role.”

As a child-centred organization, Plan prioritizes the rights and involvement of children in all of our work with communities. Mohammad Rahman, a Plan staff member, says that this approach is appreciated by the local people.

“They believe that it has the potential to bring about real changes in their community.”

Samsul, a local community leader, agrees.

“By placing children at the forefront of community development, Plan is changing attitudes among adults, myself included, about what is possible.”


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