Bangladesh is a country in South Asia, located between India and Myanmar. It is the eighth most populated country in the world, with a population of 165 million inhabitants. The official language is Bengali, and 90% of the population identifies as Muslim.
Bangladesh has one of the fastest growing economies - garment industry accounts for 80% of exports. Despite this, millions of Bangladeshi still live in poverty, and child labour is a prevalent issue.
Climate change also affects the population. Indeed, around 700 rivers flow through the country- these make the ground very fertile, but also very prone to climate risks.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Bangladesh since 1972.
Child labour is common in Bangladesh, with 4.7 million children aged between 5 and 17 in the work force. A labour law exists, prohibiting children younger than 14 to work. Sadly, it’s difficult to enforce the law.
Children mainly work in the agricultural sector and the garment sector. However, many girls under 18 are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. The government of Bangladesh has created a program where children going to school receive a stipend, encouraging them to stay in school instead of working.
Due to its location and its population density, Bangladesh is vulnerable to the risks of climate change; it is one of the most disaster affected countries in the world. Around 90 million people, which is 54% of total population, live in high climate exposure areas. People already living in poverty, will be even more impacted by climate change dangers. Children are most at risk, both for the direct impact of climate change like floods or cyclones; and indirect effects, on their education and nutrition.
Despite rapid growth, poverty remains a major issue in the country, with 20% of the population still living below the national poverty line.For children, who are most vulnerable to poverty, these numbers are twice as high, with 33 million children living below the poverty line, this is 56% of all children in Bangladesh.They are more likely to become victims of child labour, taking away education opportunities which would help them get out of the cycle of poverty.