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HOMELESSNESS AROUND THE WORLD: SPOTLIGHT ON BANGLADESH

 

 

Bangladesh is today considered a developing country, with a phenomenal decrease in poverty since the early 2000’s. According to the World Bank poverty rates dropped from 82% in 1972 to below 9% in 2018. At this rate, it is estimated that the country will be able to eradicate extreme poverty by 2021 – the first South East Asian country to do so.

 Despite these positive reports, homelessness remains a grave concern, particularly amongst children. Earlier this month, 3 000 Rohingya refugee families were relocated to emergency shelters or relative’s homes after parts of their refugee camp was decimated by the heavy monsoon rains and landslides. Children have been the worst affected with many schools and health centres damaged. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape persecution. The refugee camp currently houses 300 000 refugees.

Bangladesh is characterised by a growing number of homeless children who live on the streets. Most homeless children in Bangladesh don’t attend school and instead sell objects on the street or do odd jobs for money. Sadly, many do not live to see adulthood, frequently dying from water borne illnesses or as the result of scavenged food that they have eaten to ward off starvation.

However, it’s not only children who are homeless in Bangladesh. There are a growing number of homeless adults in the city.

The capital city, Dhaka attracts thousands of migrants from rural areas seeking employment in the city on an annual basis. Unfortunately, the city is unable to provide the majority of these migrants with education, housing, healthcare or employment with the result that many end up homeless.

Dhaka’s slums are reportedly home to 3.4 million people – overcrowded and dangerous places that lack basic facilities such as safe water and sanitation. The homeless who live in these slums are exposed to extortion, sexual harassment, violence with many indulging in high risk behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse. Women, in particular, face a high risk of physical assault.

With the support of government initiatives, however, it looks as though the eradication of homelessness Bangladesh is a priority for the next few years. As such, the focus is on continued growth of employment and labour to ensure the country’s current levels of productivity are maintained. Moreover, via a partnership with Asia’s Development Bank, $8 billion has been allocated since 2016 to develop infrastructure, improve the livelihood of rural Bangladeshis and provide capital to foster regional trade.

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These aren’t just words, neatly packed to sound helpful “in theory”; these are the very real concepts on which the global movement of positive change is built.
It’s with these ideas that The Philanthropic Collection home to The CEO SleepOut is turning old world philanthropy on its head;
getting business leaders to sleep on the streets to raise funds and gain empathy for the homeless in The CEO SleepOut Event;
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By Ali Gregg