In Northeastern Bangladesh
Geography & Climate
- Located in South Asia, Bangladesh is in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta.
- Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by heavy seasonal rainfall, high temperatures and high humidity.
- The northeastern region is known for its many small streams and rivers that are tributaries of the Jamuna River.
- The alluvial soil found throughout the country is highly fertile, but also vulnerable to cycles of flood and drought.
- Natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes ravage the country each year.
- Bangladesh is widely recognized as one of the countries most susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change.
With widespread fertile soil, agriculture plays a crucial role in Bangladesh’s economy, with principal crops including rice, tea, wheat and sugarcane.
Nearly half of the country’s population is employed in the agriculture sector. Given the frequency of natural disasters and volatile weather patterns, those who rely on farming for their livelihood are highly vulnerable.
The per capita annual income is estimated to be U.S.$1,500.
Forty percent of the population is underemployed. Many people counted as employed work only a few hours a week and at low wages.
Children at Home
Houses in northeastern Bangladesh are typically built with bamboo and straw. Many of these structures have mud walls with a roof of straw or plastic sheets.
The houses are typically 7 feet by 14 feet in size, usually accommodating five or six people. Most homes have front yards where families keep cows, chickens and ducks.
Because many village homes in this region do not have running water, children spend hours each day collecting water from the nearest source to meet their families’ needs.
Issues and Concerns
The northeastern region is a remote area, and many of the villages have little or no access to hospitals or clinics.
Some villages have no medical facilities at all, and the people who live there must travel more than 20 miles for medical care.
Local Needs and Challenges
Children in remote villages lack access to medical care. Few health centers exist, and without transportation most people have to walk miles to receive medical care.
There are few schools, and those that exist are typically undersupplied and staffed by unqualified teachers. Still, the people in this area have a higher literacy rate than the general Bangladeshi population.
Schools and Education
- While people in this region recognize the value of education, not many can afford school fees.
- There are few schools in this part of the country, including just one high school with a capacity of 300 students and only nine teachers.
- The two primary schools lack books, trained teachers and adequate facilities.
- While the Bangladeshi government works to ensure a primary education for all children, many children must leave school after fifth grade.
- More than 70 percent of children in the northeastern region will never complete high school.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Child development centers in northeastern Bangladesh provide registered children with a place to learn and grow.
To combat malnutrition, children are provided nutritious meals.
They also are provided the support and supplies they need to attend school. After-school tutoring and activities based on the Compassion curriculum, adapted to Bangladesh culture, enable children to develop their full potential in all facets of life: physical, educational, emotional and spiritual.
Children receive hygiene products such as soap and shampoo as well as sanitation training to help them avoid illness. When they get sick, their medical needs are covered.
For caregivers, centers conduct meetings to raise their awareness about the importance of nutritious food and education for their children. As a result of Compassion’s work, assisted children often set an example for their parents and inspire them to improve their own lives.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local worship centers, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in northeastern Bangladesh, providing them with:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- health and hygiene training
- access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief
- mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God’s children