Latest update

Bangladesh has experienced varying levels of lockdown and quarantine restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools, churches and other community centres remained closed for a significant period of time to prevent the spread of the virus. The nation’s vaccination drive began in January 2021. One of the biggest issues facing the Bangladeshi population throughout the pandemic has been food insecurity, with many families losing their source of income completely. Cyclone Amphan, which struck the southern coast of Bangladesh in May 2020, was a devastating challenge for families already living through the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local partners have maintained regular contact with children and their caregivers during lockdown through home visits and phone calls. They have adapted program support to be small-group or home-based, and delivered food packs, hygiene kits, medical support and some educational resources to families.

Watch the latest video update from Bangladesh below to learn more.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Bangladesh?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most partner centres have resumed activities for children and youths in small groups in outdoor courtyards.

    For centres that remain closed to group activities, staff members maintain regular contact with children and caregivers through home visits and phone calls. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local partners have been able to send over 553,000 food packs and over 572,000 hygiene kits to beneficiary families. Additionally, they have provided medical support to over 18,500 people.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Bangladesh, although delivery to and from your child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing your child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

  • 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:

  • Peace and protection over youth who have not been able to complete their yearly exams due to COVID-19.
  • Safety of the children and their families who are living in areas vulnerable to flooding.
  • Safety for children, families and local partners as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing.
  • Healing and quick recovery from illness for Amnura.
  • Continued protection of youth as COVID-19 has led to the steady increase of child marriages.
  • Wisdom for Bangladesh’s leaders through their decision-making process.
  • Healing and peace for Tirza’s mother.
  • Peace and comfort for Monalisa and her family as they emotionally process a traumatic event.
  • Healing for Porimol’s son.
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, some child development centres in Bangladesh are operating differently to abide by local restrictions and guidelines. Local partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care or by meeting in small groups.

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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Restoring Hope: Cyclones in Bangladesh

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