Latest update

The COVID-19 related death toll in Bangladesh passed 6640 by the first week of December. A recent spike in cases has increased concerns over a possible second wave of COVID-19 during winter. Many restrictions have been lifted by the government, but face masks and social distancing continue to be required in public areas. The country is also dealing with the effects of its worst flood in a decade, which left half a million people homeless. Authorities reported thousands of cases of waterborne diseases, including diarrhoea and skin diseases, in the flooded coastal region. Half of the population is now food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough safe and nutritious food to live a healthy life.

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COVID-19 in Bangladesh

How is Compassion currently operating in Bangladesh?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    _Most Compassion child development centres have resumed activities for children and youths in small groups in outdoor courtyards. _

    Where that is not possible, staff members maintain regular contact with children and caregivers through home visits and phone calls. Compassion Bangladesh staff and local partners have been able to send over 228,600 food packs and 229,200 hygiene kits to families. Additionally, they have provided medical support to more than 4500 people. They report that many families have no source of income, so they are providing necessary funds to buy daily essentials.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Bangladesh, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Bangladesh, although they are currently delayed. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Bangladesh who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Guidance for the doctors’ hands as they try to treat and prevent Subarna’s eye condition from continuing to worsen.
  • Provision and healing for Antor and his family as they are struggling to provide for their family and getting the medical care that Antor needs for his heart condition.
  • Healing and a quick recovery to a staff member in BD0424 who broke their arm in a motorbike accident.
  • The success of the local partners as they were able to complete and deliver the additional food relief the communities needed.
  • Ruth and her baby would remain safe and healthy.
  • Diamond’s father-in-law would make a full recovery from his recent amputation.
  • Sajal and his family would continue to recover and regain their strength.
The Fresh Relief of Safe Water

The Fresh Relief of Safe Water

In the northern villages of Bangladesh, the communal pond is a favourite for locals who use its waters to wash clothes, water rice fields and bathe cattle. And for teens such as 15-year-old Basudeb, it’s the only spot to take a dip with friends to find relief from the roasting heat. But since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and social distancing became essential, accessing the once popular communal pond proved to be risky.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Bangladesh are temporarily closed. Local partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Bangladesh

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 9 visit the Compassion centre for five to six hours a day every weekday and eight hours on Saturdays.
  • Children aged 9 and older attend the centre for four hours each weekday and eight hours on Saturdays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Bangladesh

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Compassion assisted children in Bangladesh typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before school and occasionally on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Bangladesh.

8:00am – A time for songs, games and introductions.

10:30am – Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am – Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm – Lunch and social time. Children generally receive a meal five days a week. The meals typically consist of rice and lentils with vegetables, fish, eggs, chicken or potatoes.

1:00pm – Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene lessons.

2:00pm – Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are also encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, such as singing, dance, drawing and drama. Children play outdoor games such as football, cricket and volleyball. Parents of Compassion assisted children meet once a month to learn a variety of topics.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Bangladesh

39%

of people lack access to improved sanitation

26%

of people over 15 cannot read or write

Formerly East Pakistan, Bangladesh was born out of conflict in the region and founded in its modern form in 1971.

A predominantly Muslim nation, it’s one of the world’s most densely populated countries, with more than 160 million people living in a land area roughly two-thirds the size of Victoria. Most of the land is low-lying delta and is vulnerable to flooding. Bangladesh is also regularly affected by tropical storms and heavy monsoonal rain that contributes to these flood events.

Most of the population relies on farming to make a living, with agriculture accounting for almost half of the country’s economy. Major crops include rice, jute and tea. Farming is growing increasingly difficult as rising seas destroy farmland in low-lying areas, inundating and salting the land and making it unfit for crops.

In recent years, urban areas—especially Dhaka, the capital—have experienced a population surge as many rural communities have found life increasingly difficult in their hometowns.

This has led to the growth of urban slums around major cities, as families come looking for safer ground on which to build a home and the prospect of work to build a life. But in these slums, children are more vulnerable to malnutrition, child labour, child marriage, violence, abuse, poor sanitation and pollution.

Despite a government focus on education and healthcare in recent years, the poorest families struggle to get access to the classroom or to a doctor. Around 15 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty (less than US$1.90 per day) and around 85 per cent live on less than US$5.50 per day.

Yet local partners are at work, serving the children of their communities and sharing a hope more powerful than poverty.

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