SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bangladesh).

Dhaka is the capital and biggest city of Bangladesh. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with 22.5 million people living in the greater Dhaka area. Many families move to the capital in hope of a better future and job opportunities. However, an estimated four million migrants live in one of the 5000 slums at the border of the city. Life in these slums is extremely difficult, and children are suffering most from these harsh living conditions. Many do not get enough food and can only dream of going to school. Furthermore, many children in Dhaka are forced to marry at an early age.

Since 1972, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Dhaka.

Least liveable city in the world

Children affected by water pollution

Dhaka’s population is growing by 6% every single year. People from rural areas come to the capital in search of a better future. However, they often end up in terrible living conditions, in slums on the border of the city. Dhaka is considered one of the 10 least livable cities in the world. To illustrate this, many rivers run through Dhaka, and Buriganga is one of the most well-known for its incredible pollution. Not only is chemical waste dumped in the river, but also domestic garbage, dead animals, sewage, plastics and petroleum. 4.5 tons of waste is thrown in the river each day! This affects the inhabitants, who rely on the river for cleaning, washing and water supply. Children’s health is even more at risk due to this water pollution.

Girls are married as children

Children are forced into marriage

Bangladesh ranks among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest levels of child marriage. This means a harrowing 51% of women aged 20 to 24 were first married before 18. Child marriage is a violation of the universal declaration of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. Married girls in Bangladesh are over four times more likely to be out of school than unmarried girls. Furthermore, there is also an increased risk of child pregnancies and domestic violence. In Dhaka specifically, 9 million girls were married as a child. The government has set a national target to end child marriage by 2041.

Your support makes a difference for children in Dhaka

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Learn at our schools and kindergartens
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children having fun together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bangladesh).

How your support helps in Dhaka

Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.