There are a number of projects that need major investment and sponsorship, and we would love to hear from anyone who is interested in any of the following projects. We can provide an outline and budget for each of these on request.
Although education is free in Bangladesh, many families do not have sufficient income to buy uniforms, books or other learning resources. The temptation is therefore to take the children out of school and put the older ones into work.
Working with char communities
The Sreepur Village runs a support centre in the Kurigram/Chilmari region of northern Bangladesh where climate change is threatening the lives of women and children living in 'char' communities. It is estimated that 600,000 people live in the isolated char communities of Bangladesh. These communities lie on the eroding sandbanks of the river delta are at constant risk of flooding; they are amongst the poorest in the country. In 2014 the Sreepur Village decided to introduce an outreach project in Kurigram, northern Bangladesh. In the last twenty five years the majority of destitute mothers that have come to Sreepur Village have been from this district, in particular from one of the poorest areas of Bangladesh, Chilmari. Most people in this region are landless and because it’s a riverine and low lying area land forms and disappears. During the monsoon, for months each year, most land is under water. Many young mothers are left destitute; men leave to work in cities and often do not return so there are a large percentage of fatherless families with no land and no income. Many mothers are very young themselves as early marriage is very common in this area.
We found that the majority of mothers we have helped, from this district, are from one small ‘char’ (unstable river island) where word about Sreepur Village (known locally as SPP) has spread by word of mouth. We then visited other similar ‘chars’ and found many women with children who met our criteria and who hadn’t heard of us and are desperate for some sort of support.
We opened offices in this region and have 2 local social workers working in these poor communities reaching out to women who meet our criteria. In the first 7 months as a result of our work in this region 70 mothers were referred to the Sreepur Village. These mothers and their children will stay at the Village for a period of time (where they will receive care, education and livelihood training) or if appropriate we will work with them and offer training in their local communities.
Urban Street Children Project, in Dhaka
Some years ago, we were approached by one of our UK donors who wished to gift a large sum if we would start to work with street children in Bangladesh. We opened a drop in centre offering snacks, toilet and washing facilities, a TV plus toys and basic literacy and numeracy classes. In 2017 we had to close this shelter and instead we opened up a night shelter for girls in Dhaka.
One of our best loved programmes at the Sreepur Village is the girl’s cricket team. The importance of cricket in the lives of our disadvantaged girls cannot be overestimated; it’s a tool for empowerment providing girls with a sense of self worth and confidence; teaching vital life skills as well as being a great source of joy and fun. Our long term vision at the Village is to create a centre of excellence where girls and women can play and develop their talent in a safe and secure environment. We feel sure that one day some of our most talented girls will play for their country.
Support for Victims of the Rana Plaza Building Collapse, Savar, Bangladesh
On 24th April 2013, 1127 people died when the garments factory in Rana Plaza collapsed. More than 2000 people were injured, and 291 were never found.
The Sreepur Village immediately set up signs offering help to women and children affected by this tragedy. We stepped in for the interim period to support the education of 200 children orphaned by the tragedy, while our staff on the ground worked hard to ensure compensation money reached the children affected by this tragedy.
For 2 years we supported the education of the orphaned children until alternative help and money became available. Although our support for this project has now come to an end we will always fight against the injustice of poverty and the exploitative working practices in Bangladesh that trap so many women and children in dire poverty We believe every child has the right to an education and every mother has the right to work in a safe and secure environment and receive a fair wage for her work. At the Sreepur Village we work with ethical employers that pay our mothers a living wage, we are also proud to sell our own fair trade products that provide a livelihood for the women at Sreepur and the surrounding villages.