85% of our total operating expenses fund programs for children. So the majority of your dollars go toward exactly what you intended - supporting children in poverty.
Bangladesh has a population of 154.7 million. Smaller than the state of Iowa, it is one of the world’s most densely populated countries and also one of the poorest; 49.8% of the population lives below the poverty line and 36% of the population lives on less than $1 a day. Large numbers of this disadvantaged population are children and youth, with 42% under 18 and 11% under 5. The problem of child poverty is exacerbated and reinforced by the sheer number of impoverished people, numerous natural disasters, and lack of infrastructure for the provision of aid.
There are 450,000 children living on the streets in Bangladesh; 75% of them live in the country’s capital, Dhaka. Many of these children are physically and sexually abused. Girls in particular are easy prey for gangs and street brothels. Widening income gaps give rise to the trafficking and commercial exploitation of children while there are no laws governing how wealthy families treat those they hire for domestic work. Many working children have no access to education, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and trapping them in low-skilled, low-paid work. The primary school dropout rate is 35%, with the need to earn money for their families being the main reason for leaving school prematurely.
Nearly 5 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 are employed, many of them with little or no pay. Of the 301 types of occupations children are engaged in, 48 are categorized by the Bangladeshi government as hazardous. The mission of Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI) focuses on these children — the poorest and most vulnerable.
DCI has been operating in Bangladesh since 2005, helping poor children to access their rights to health, education, economic security and protection. In Bangladesh, we partner with Rights & Sight for Children, and work together in 5 districts across the country – Patuakhali, Habiganj, Feni, Nilphamary, and metropolitan Dhaka, where the country office is located. Our flagship program in Bangladesh is the Sun Child Sponsorship Program. In the remote villages of Patuakhali, Feni, Habiganj, and Nilphamary districts, we are identifying poor and vulnerable families and integrating them into the sponsorship program. We also operate our Blindness Prevention Program in these project localities. In Dhaka, we are providing preventive and curative treatment for slum dwellers through our Healthcare for the Underprivileged Program. We also operate an orphanage and assist government-run orphanages through our Orphan Support Program.