Lord Nazir Ahmed visits Muslim Charity’s Street Children Project in Dhaka, Bangladesh
The street children phenomenon in the world is one of deep concern as it is a topic that is not often highlighted on mainstream media. There are 150 million children on the streets in the world, chased from home by violence, abuse, the death of a parent, family breakdown, war, natural disaster or simply socio-economic collapse, many destitute children are forced to eke out a living on the streets, scavenging, begging, hawking in the slums and polluted cities of the developing world.
Alone in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, there are more than 500,000 children living on the streets. Muslim Charity’s “Children of the World” campaign focuses on rescuing such children.
On a recent visit to Bangladesh, Lord Nazir Ahmed visited one of Muslim Charity’s Transitional Shelters in Dhaka, which is where rescued street children are brought after being rescued from the streets. Lord Nazir Ahmed met with some of the rescued children and observed their daily routines and heard their stories. He was briefed by Muslim Charity’s Country Coordinator in Bangladesh, Mr Fazlul Karim, on the methodology adopted in rescuing the street children and then reintegrating them with their parents and for those that have no parents how they are referred onwards to permanent shelters to get the education and opportunities every child deserves.
Upon visiting the Thikana Transitional Shelter, Lord Nazir Ahmed commented, “I am delighted to be present today at Muslim Charity’s Thikana Transitional Shelter which rescues children from the streets. This shelter is truly amazing and the children here are very happy; they eat five times a day, which is more than how many times I eat in London since they have breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as two snacks in between at 11am and 4pm.” He went on further to say, “My message to friends in the UK is to continue supporting the “Children of the World” campaign of Muslim Charity which supports street children in Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries around the world.”
Muslim Charity has rescued over 2,000 children from the streets of Bangladesh and reunited over 250 lost children with their families. These children have either been abandoned by their parents or have been trafficked into the most unspeakable situations including bonded labour and the sex trade. We have outreach workers on the ground building trust with the children and an informal ‘School under the Sky’ initiative, which are open air schools for street children. After the successes of the project in Bangladesh, Muslim Charity has earlier this year launched a similar initiative under the banner of “Bachon Ki Dunya” in Karachi and Peshawar, Pakistan.
Lord Nazir Ahmed has played an instrumental role in the launch of the “Children of the World” campaign and creating continuing awareness and advocating for the rights and dilemma of street children around the world. He hosted the launch of the campaign at the House of Lords in October 2016 and the campaign went on to win the “Most Impactful International Programme Award” at the MCF Humanitarian Awards held in Church House (Westminster, London) in February 2017.
Earlier this year, the Shadow Health Secretary, Mr Jonathan Ashworth MP, visited Muslim Charity’s street children project in Dhaka and recorded a short video message appreciating the efforts and work, which can be watched here.
SOME PHOTOS FROM LORD AHMED’S VISIT TO MUSLIM CHARITY’S TRANSITIONAL SHELTER IN DHAKA, BANGLADESH (17th September 2017)