Latest update

A second wave of COVID-19 has hit Bangladesh, the country’s health minister said on 23 September. The country is also dealing with its worst flood in a decade, which left half a million people homeless. It is believed that 72 per cent of the population is unemployed due to movement restrictions and workplace closures. 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

“It is the daily wage earners, the casual workers, the small-business men and women who are badly impacted for the survival of their families. The children have been touched by the virus. But by prayers and God’s mercies and grace, all except one child’s father have been able to recover. We thank God for His protection and we are grateful for your prayers.”

Christabel

Compassion Bangladesh National Director

How is Compassion currently operating in Bangladesh?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    All Compassion group activities are on hold.

    Compassion Bangladesh staff and local partners have been able to send 157,330 food packs and 158,888 hygiene kits to beneficiary families. Additionally, they have provided medical support to 2,242 people.

    They report that many families have no source of income, so they are providing necessary funds to buy daily essentials. They also maintain regular contact with children and caregivers through phone calls.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    We are unable to safely deliver letters to children in Bangladesh at this point. 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:

  • For the children, families, and communities who are sick that they would have a complete recovery.
  • The protection and provision of the children and families in Gopalganj, who have been affected by the flooding.
  • Strength, comfort, and healing for a staff member’s wife in BD410 as she receives treatment for her cancer.
  • Praise for the successful treatment and healing of Boalmara, who was very sick and is now recovering.
  • The protection and safety of the local partners as they seek to visit the children in the midst of COVID-19.
  • God’s wisdom and protection would be with the staff as they continue to provide and implement a strategy to bring relief to those who need it most.
  • Compassion would be able to continue to love, serve, and care for the children, families, and communities in Bangladesh.
  • God would steady the hands of doctors as they operate on Moshi’s eye.
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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