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

Rajshahi is a city located in the north-west of the country, near the Indian border. The city is well known for its agriculture, mainly of mangoes and lychees. It is also famous for its excellent silk, which is used for saris. The industry employs around 100,000 people directly or indirectly. In addition, the city has had one of the biggest decreases in harmful air particles in the world in recent years, a mentionable achievement. However, poverty still affects people in Rajshahi, with many living in slums on the border of the city. Children are suffering from these harsh living conditions. Furthermore, many children in Rajshahi are forced to marry at a young age.

Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Rajshahi.

Households live in slums in Rajshahi

Children live in informal settlements

Families move to cities in search of a better life and job opportunities, or because they have been victims of the ravages of climate change. However, they often end up in slums on the border of the city. In fact, around 5,000 households in Rajshahi live in slums. Children are most vulnerable to the poverty in these slums, and to the lack of access to safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation. They also do not have proper access to food. For this reason, 5.5 million children suffer from malnutrition in Bangladesh, and more specifically in Rajshahi, 23% of children under 5 are underweight.

Girls are married as children in Rajshahi

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 Rajshahi specifically, 6 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 Rajshahi

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 Rajshahi

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 thk.e 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.