Sun Child Sponsorship Program
INTO Giving is helping get off the ground a youth IT centre and mobile library for more than 1,500 very poor rural schoolchildren in Patuakhali, Bangladesh who are part of the Sun Child Sponsorship Program.
At its heart, this is a rescue mission. INTO Giving will help children stay in school, make the most of it, and escape the brutal pennies-a-day dead end of child labour.
Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, is desperately poor. Seventy-seven million people – around one-half of the entire population – live below the poverty line, and more than one-third subsist on less than $1 (70 pence) a day. Most of these are children.
77 million, a figure so large it can be difficult to visualise. But, if it helps to have something to compare it to, a point of reference closer to or even encompassing home, 77 million people living in deep poverty equals:
UNITED STATES – the entire populations of Colorado, Minnesota, South Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, Alabama, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and Washington DC
EUROPE – the combined populations of London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Istanbul, Athens, Vienna, Warsaw, Barcelona, Moscow, Madrid, Munich, Milan, Prague, St Petersburg, plus the entire population of Ireland and the whole of Sweden.
A few years ago, the Sun Child Sponsorship Program built a youth centre for local children, but there was never any money to run it.
INTO is helping change that. With £5,600 ($8,000 USD) we’re going to provide the centre with IT equipment, tables, chairs, learning materials, and money toward general repairs.
There’s more: we’re also supporting two librarians/computer trainers (one of whom, importantly, will be a woman, thus local girls and their parents will feel secure about using the centre and its computers) to work at the centre and mobile library, and books for the children to read.
Computer training at the youth centre will reach 1,000 12-16-year-olds (half of these will be girls), from four local secondary schools every year; and the mobile library will tour the region, reaching more than 500 7-11-year-olds, as well as the thousand secondary schoolchildren also receiving IT training. All of this, please understand, in a place where the primary/elementary school dropout rate (and almost certain conscription into child labour) is a reality for more than one-in-every-three 5-15-year-old children.