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

Chattogram, previously known as Chittagong, is the second biggest city in Bangladesh, after the capital Dhaka. Five million people live in the city, and it hosts the biggest port of Bangladesh, one of the busiest in South Asia. The city contributes 12% to the country’s gross national product. However, poverty still affects people in Chattogram. Children are suffering most from this; many do not get enough food and can only dream of going to school. Furthermore, children in Chattogram are at risk of being married at a young age.

Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Chattogram.

People in Chattogram live in slums

Living 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, 20,000 people in Chattogram 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 nutritious food. For this reason, 5.5 million children suffer from malnutrition in Bangladesh. More specifically in Chattogram, 27% of children under 5 are underweight.

Girls in Chattogram 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 the age of 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 Chattogram specifically, 7 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 Chattogram

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
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
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 Chattogram

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.
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.