Imagine a world where children as young as seven are sent out to work because the family doesn’t see any other way to put food on the table. Seven-year-old Farzana lives in this world.
McDonald Adhikary, Executive Director of IN Bangladesh shares the complexities involved in child labor: many families rely on the income generated by their children for survival, so child labor is often highly valued. Additionally, employers often prefer to employ children because they are cheaper and are considered to be more compliant and obedient than adults.
Children living in poverty exist in the middle of these complexities. When they have to work they are often denied education. Their sense of safety is lost as their working conditions expose them to abuse, violence, exploitation, and make them vulnerable to human trafficking. And they miss out on time to play with other children.
In a child’s critical role of helping her family to survive, her own future suffers. But still, each child dreams of what might be.
Farzana is a seven-year-old girl who lives in a slum area in the Banasree area of Bangladesh. Her father is a rickshaw driver and his income is uncertain and often not enough to provide what the family needs. The family lives in a hut that is unsafe and unhygienic and they have to walk a long distance to collect drinking water each day.
Like the neighbors who live around them, their reality is hard, but they are doing their best to survive.
Farzana’s parents can’t afford to send their children to school and Farzana spends her days working as a helper in a house. She cleans the floor, washes plates and glasses, and helps the other servants to do the household laundry. Farzana earns a very small amount each week – equivalent to about what a person in the USA would pay for a small latte at a coffee shop.
This small amount helps to maintain Farzana’s family.
International Needs Bangladesh has developed a drop-in center for children like Farzana. IN staff connects with owners of shops and business centers where children work, arranging for children to have a couple hours off late afternoon to come to the drop-in center.
Farzana now has the opportunity to play and learn with other children, to cleanse herself and take a bath, and to learn the Bengali and English alphabets, numbers, basic hygiene skills, and receive Christian nurture from teachers at the drop-in center.
In the future, Farzana dreams of becoming a health worker.
Now imagine a world where every child has the right to an education, regardless of her family’s circumstances. Whether you sponsor a child’s education or support ministries around the world that provide hope for children, you are investing in a new reality for children with dreams for the future.
Thank you for believing in these children and giving them the opportunity to learn and explore their God-given potential.