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Snapshot of Bangladesh

15%

of people live in extreme poverty

39%

lack access to improved sanitation

40%

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.

Runi’s Opportunity

In a remote village, high in the hills of south-east Bangladesh, Runi, 10, treads carefully as she climbs the muddy track up from the stream. The basket strapped to her back—its handle looped over her forehead—bulges with the weight of the day’s water, sloshing in a steel container.

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Prayer requests for Bangladesh

  • Pray for Ripon, an 11-year-old boy, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Pray for God’s strength, courage and peace for him and for his family as they confront this diagnosis. Pray that he will receive the treatment he needs and that God would restore his health.

  • Praise God that Kanta, a sponsored girl, has successfully undergone surgery to have gallstones removed. Please continue to pray for her recovery so she can join the activities at her local centre again soon.

  • Pray for three local centre directors who have asked for prayer support for their families. They have wanted children for years but are unable. May the Lord of mercy answer their prayers and bless them with healthy children and give them patience and faith in the waiting.

  • Pray for the Compassion Bangladesh national office staff, who are recruiting to fill important roles within the organisation. Pray that God will lead the right people to apply and give the team discernment and wisdom through the process.

  • Please pray for Rudro, who is only four months old and suffering from hydrocephalus and an inguinal hernia. He had two surgeries so far. Please keep this little baby in your continuous prayers. He is suffering from such pain and discomfort. Please pray that Almighty God may restore full health and strength and that he will not suffer permanent brain damage.

  • Pray for all local child development centre tutors and staff as they serve the children of their communities. Pray for energy, hope and optimism as they work to see the children gain the opportunity to be released from poverty. Pray that God would lead them as they serve Him.

Stories from Compassion in Bangladesh

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more

23 Apr, 2018

Have You Sent These Things to Your Sponsored Child?

Wondering what you can send to your sponsored child? Read on for the items you can include with your letters, plus learn what not to send... Read more

20 Mar, 2019

Meet the Midwives Saving the Most Vulnerable Babies in the World

For millions of people living in poverty around the world, hospitals can be difficult to access and doctors in short supply. A midwife is a vital source of strength for mums and families in need. Meet some of the birthing heroes in these communities. .. Read more