Recent News and Project Updates

 

COVID-19 Response Update

COVID-19 is threatening the lives of so many children in Bangladesh. Our floating schools and education programs are closed so that the children and their families can stay at home and try to keep safe.

Thanks to generous donations from our donors in the UK, our partner in Bangladesh has been able to distribute life saving food packs and provide education on hygiene equipment packs to the children, young girls and their families who live in remote villages in the Haor areas.

 

Murshed Alam Sarker, who is the CEO of our partner POPI in Bangladesh reports that COVID-19 is spreading and getting worse every day.  “Many poor people living in remote communities are outside the reach of the government’s food distribution program and the local hospitals do not have the equipment to treat the virus effectively. The best thing people can do is to stay at home, but many face the dilemma of needing to go to work to feed their families and risking catching or spreading the virus.

 

Our food and hygiene packs can help families to survive and prevent them risking their health by going to work. For those people who have already lost their jobs due to COVID-19 the food and hygiene packs will mean they do not go hungry."

 

Learning for Life is continuing to raise money to provide food and education on using the hygiene equipment packs for people in remote villages. POPI is working hard to distribut the food and hygiene packs, but more are still needed.

 

A hygiene pack of buckets, soap, disinfectant, masks and handkerchiefs will help to keep a family of five safe from COVID-19 for 30 days costs £12.

 

A food pack which contains rice, oil, potato, salt and flour which will feed a family of five people for 30 days costs £22.

 

Please continue to support our work by donating to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal and help LfL to continue to protect children, young girls and their families from this virus.  

 

Jakir’s story

Shorufa’s story.

 

Coronavirus Emergency Response Appeal

We urgently need your help to support our response to the COVID – 19 pandemic.

 

Please give what you can today.

 

Learning for Life is working urgently with our partners in Bangladesh and Nepal to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. LfL works with children and girls in some of the most deprived and rural areas to ensure that they receive an education.

 

The schools have shut to prevent the spread of the virus, but we want to ensure that the children are healthy and well and able to return as soon as they can.

 

The children live in remote villages. LfL’s partners are working hard to stop the spread of the virus by providing vital education in hand-washing to prevent infection and providing families with essential hygiene packs of buckets, soap, disinfectant, masks and handkerchiefs.

 

For families who have lost their income, LfL’s partners are distributing food packs which contain rice, pulses, oil, potato, salt and flour.

 

A food pack which contains enough to feed a family of five people for 30 days costs £22.

 

A hygiene pack which will help to keep a family of five safe from COVID-19 for 30 days costs £12.

 

Together both of these packs will help to support vulnerable families.

 

Many of the fundraising events – like the London Marathon – that support LfL have been postponed.

 

Please support our work by donating to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal and help LfL to continue to protect children, young girls and their families from this virus.  

Projects in Need of Funding

Please click the link below to find mor details of the projects currently in need of funding 

 

Current Funding Request

 

375 former child labourers now enrolled in mainstream secondary school

We are delighted to announce that 375 children (172 girls and 203 boys) who were previously engaged in hazardous child labour in shoe-gluing factories and fish-drying plants in Bangladesh, have passed their Primary School Certificate exam and are now enrolled in mainstream secondary school, after attending Learning for Life’s catch-up education centres, run in partnership with People's Oriented Program Implementation (POPI) and Help & Education for Less Privileged People (HELP) in Bangladesh.

 

Furthermore, 186 children passed the Primary School Certificate with an A grade! Congratulations to all the students now studying at secondary school, and we wish them the best of luck in their studies.


625 more children who were formerly working in hazardous conditions are still enrolled in the catch-up education centres, and they too will take the exam and move on to mainstream secondary school when ready.

Arju Akter’s Story: “ I want to become a Police Officer”

Arju Akter was abandoned by her parents while she was still young due to monetary issues. She now lives with her uncle. Arju is still in touch with her siblings who live with her parents. Her brothers do not go to school; but her younger sister studies at Islamic Education Center (Madrasha). 

 

Arju was released from the fish drying plants and got enrolled at Catch Up Education Center. She soon dropped out and went back to work. The project staff constantly tried persuading her uncle to send her to school and managed to get her enrolled again. Arju is a regular now and she also topped grade 4. After school, Arju helps with the household work at her uncle’s place along side she helps other students with academics.

 

She received Leadership training on Child Parliament Members, and is also a Peer Educator. She is the Speaker at the Child Parliament Session. Arju’s dream is to become a Police Officer to serve her community, spread awareness about civil rights and bring justice to the victims. Arju likes drawing and her favorite subject is English. She thanks Learning for Life for providing education.

Saiful Islam's Success Story

"I am the eldest son of my parents, I have two brothers and one sister, my father is working in the dry fish plants. Before, I was also working with him. Now I am studying in class 5 at the Catch up Education Centers from POPI.

My other two brothers are going to Islamic school (Madrasha). My sister not going to school, she is very young. My mother is a housewife.  My dream is to become a Mathematics Teacher after completing my studies.

 

About 4 years back I worked in the drying fish factories. I did not like to work there, it smells all the time, there was not sanitation, I often became sick. My father has no choice than work there. I don’t like to work there. I want to continue my studies. I tell my mother that one day when I can earn money I will support you and my father.  

 

I love school, I go to school every day, my teacher is very good, and we learn many things. I have lots friends at school. With the help of our teachers we have formed Child Parliament. I am the deputy speaker at the Child Parliament session. We the member of Child Parliament , together raising many issues like child rights, child protection and more importantly we go to many dry fish factories to stop child labour.I do not like when children are working in the shops or other factories.I am lucky because I can study but there are other children who cannot enjoy school. I am in class 5 now and I will go to High School next year." 

Hena's Story

"My name is Hena Akter, I am 17 years old, my father is a fisherman and mother is a housewife. My sister Happy Sultana is a student at the Catch up Education Centre, supported by POPI & Learning for Life, where she is learning how to read and write. I was supporting my family by working in the dry fish factory, which I did not like because I was given too much work by the owner and sometimes treated badly by the men at the factory. If I did not go to work my family would struggle to give us food.

 

Last year, I was contacted by a community Facilitator Ms Salma from my sister’s school, she told me that that I could receive a vocational training on tailoring and extra support to buy a sewing machine. 

I have completed the vocational training and I practiced at home. I am very happy because I learnt a new technique. I have a new life, I am so happy because I am now earning money and I am working from home, people now respect me. I have many customers and I earn a lot more than I used to earn at the dry fish factory, with this money I support my family and myself. I am working independently, I tell other girls like me in my community to learn something so they can support themselves and change their lives for better.

I am very thankful to Leaning for Life for helping me and our community children to provide them with education."

Trustee Sam Toolan's Report on a Field Trip to Bangladesh

March 2015

 

Having been appointed a Trustee of Learning for Life fairly recently, I have arranged a trip to Bangladesh to gain a first hand insight into our work and to meet some of the beneficiaries.

 

16/03/2015 – Dhaka

 

I arrive at Dhaka airport and am met by Lincoln, an employee of People Oriented Programme Implementation (POPI), which is our delivery partner in Bangladesh. We travel to Kishoregunj by train, a car being unavailable from POPI due to the risk of bombings on the road. That night we stay at POPI’s training centre, an excellent facility set over several floors.

 

 

Tauhida Akter’s Achievements

‘I never thought I would be going to school, enjoying school life and friends around me’, Touhida Akter (15), a student from the Catch up Education Center, supported by Learning for Life (LfL) UK.

 

Three years ago Tauhida worked in the fish drying plants and supported her parents financially. Her father owns a small grocery shop which is insufficient to support the family. Tauhida’s parents migrated to Cox’s Bazar from Mohaskhali Island for a better life. Tauhida has two sisters and four brothers. Two brothers aged 18 and 20, work as fishermen, while the younger ones help their father at the shop. Her sisters stay at home to help their mother with the household chores.

 

Through Catch up Education Center, Tauhida’s parents were motivated to send her to school. Recently, Tauhida passed the primary school and scored an A+. She received a general scholarship awarded by the Government Primary Education Board. This is a prestigious scholarship awarded to the most talented students.  The staff at Catch up Education Center then further pushed Tauhida’s family to let her continue with her studies. She then went on to clear the entrance test at the Government Girl’s High-School.

 

Being content and extremely happy with her achievements, Tauhida aspires to be a doctor. Her main aim is to serve the people and help her parents.  She also encourages other girls to continue with their education. Tauhida is also fighting towards the elimination of child labour in the fish drying plants.  

Reform in Bangladesh microfinance sector regarding child labour

Learning for Life and its partner POPI (People's Oriented Program Implementation) have been instrumental in reforming the Bangladesh microfinance sector.  In Bangladesh, it is common for children (aged between 6-16) to work in factories, such as shoe gluing and fish drying, in order to bring in more money to support the family. Working children are often exposed to dangerous conditions for long hours, and very often miss out on an education. Small businesses are the main culprits in hiring children, as they are cheaper to employ than adults. For the past three years, Learning for Life has been working to eliminate child labour in Bangladesh, and so far 2000 children have been released from shoe factories and fish drying plants, and reintegrated into their communities and the education system.

 

Recently, LfL and POPI together have achieved great success in reforming practices and attitudes concerning small businesses hiring children, and children working on the whole. They lobbied the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a body established by the government of Bangladesh to provide loans for NGOs to distribute microcredit to small businesses, as it was found that these small businesses employed children, and there was no compliance with child labour legislation. This lobbying led to an agreement in June 2014 by the PKSF to explicitly prohibit the use of child labour, by requiring its borrowing organisations to commit to not employing children before a loan will be approved.

 

Following a seminar and workshops with its borrowing partners, PKSF has assumed responsibility for developing a compliance plan - a process for which POPI and LfL have pledged to provide technical assistance.

Reform in Bangladesh microfinance sector regarding child labour

Learning for Life and its partner POPI (People's Oriented Program Implementation) have been instrumental in reforming the Bangladesh microfinance sector.  In Bangladesh, it is common for children (aged between 6-16) to work in factories, such as shoe gluing and fish drying, in order to bring in more money to support the family. Working children are often exposed to dangerous conditions for long hours, and very often miss out on an education. Small businesses are the main culprits in hiring children, as they are cheaper to employ than adults. For the past three years, Learning for Life has been working to eliminate child labour in Bangladesh, and so far 2000 children have been released from shoe factories and fish drying plants, and reintegrated into their communities and the education system.

 

Recently, LfL and POPI together have achieved great success in reforming practices and attitudes concerning small businesses hiring children, and children working on the whole. They lobbied the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a body established by the government of Bangladesh to provide loans for NGOs to distribute microcredit to small businesses, as it was found that these small businesses employed children, and there was no compliance with child labour legislation. This lobbying led to an agreement in June 2014 by the PKSF to explicitly prohibit the use of child labour, by requiring its borrowing organisations to commit to not employing children before a loan will be approved.

 

Following a seminar and workshops with its borrowing partners, PKSF has assumed responsibility for developing a compliance plan - a process for which POPI and LfL have pledged to provide technical assistance.

National Children's Day in Bangladesh

On the 17th of March 2014 our project team in Bangladesh, together with the local government administration, organised a day of activities and festivities to mark National Children’s Day in Bangladesh. The day of colour, celebration and variety saw students from six Catch up Education Centres and government and non-government primary and high schools participate in the activities.

 

The theme of the day was "Please step forward to eliminate child labour from society" and began with a rally in which 2000 people marched. Following this, children took part in various activities such as drawing competitions, discussions, drama, song and dance – some of which were led by the children themselves and all of which placed an emphasis on the importance of children and celebrated national culture. The day was a huge success and raised awareness of children’s rights and their importance in society.

Brilliant exam results for children from Bhairab project

100% of the 49 year-5 students attending LfL's catch-up school in Bhairab passed the Primary School Certificate exam in 2013. This means they can continue on to secondary education, which was unimaginable to them before. 17 children secured a GPA of 4.00 or above out of 5.00 – equivalent to A-A*.

 

These children all previously worked long night shifts in shoe factories, and many were addicted to chemicals. They had either dropped out of school or had never been at all, and their self-confidence was very low.

 

Through LfL’s project they were released from the shoe factories, received life skills and rights training to build their lost confidence, and began lessons to help them catch up on the education they had missed to prepare for the exam. 

National Children's Day in Bangladesh

On the 17th of March 2014 our project team in Bangladesh, together with the local government administration, organised a day of activities and festivities to mark National Children’s Day in Bangladesh. The day of colour, celebration and variety saw students from six Catch up Education Centres and government and non-government primary and high schools participate in the activities.

 

The theme of the day was "Please step forward to eliminate child labour from society" and began with a rally in which 2000 people marched. Following this, children took part in various activities such as drawing competitions, discussions, drama, song and dance – some of which were led by the children themselves and all of which placed an emphasis on the importance of children and celebrated national culture. The day was a huge success and raised awareness of children’s rights and their importance in society.

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Learning For Life is a Registered Charity. Charity Registration Number: 1105277