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

Sylhet is a city located in the north-east of Bangladesh. Sylhetis, around 500,000 people, have a strong attachment to their cultural identity. People living in the division of Sylhet live off tourism, and from its main economic activities, the cultivation of tea and the production of oil and gas.However, poverty still affects people in Sylhet. Children are suffering most from this, many do not get enough food and can only dream of going to school. Furthermore, many children in Sylhet are forced to marry at a young age.

Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Sylhet.

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 Sylhet specifically, 2 million girls were married as a child. The government has set a national target to end child marriage by 2041.

Of people in Sylhet live in poverty

Children living in poverty

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 24% of the population in the Sylhet division lives in poverty.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 Sylhet, 37% of children under 5 are underweight.

Your support makes a difference for children in Sylhet

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.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young men chatting and playing. Together with siblings, they grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Bangladesh).

How your support helps in Sylhet

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to 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.