Illiteracy is a big issue in villages; being unable to read and write keeps communities downtrodden as people are taken advantage of. Many children do not attend schools because no government school exists in their area or it is simply too far away.
In other cases, children are forced to make an income for their families. It is illegal, though common. Because children work, they miss the first three grades of school and therefore are never be able to reenter the government education system, doomed to an endless life of labour, struggling to survive. One desperate choice leads to a missed opportunity for life.
OM empowers rural communities through literacy and education for adults and their children. OM’s Village Primary Schools in Bangladesh allow over 1,200 young boys and girls to catch up on their math and reading so that they can reenter the government schools in the future. OM provides the uniforms, fees, books, and teachers. However, for many families, sending their children to OM’s primary schools at no cost still means losing income.
“Two students dropped out of the school we started,” one of OM’s school supervisors recalled. “When we met with the students’ parents, they said their boys can earn 1800 taka (£16) every month, but if they go to school they can earn nothing. The boys are only seven years old. The father said, ‘They will work with me and catch fish like a fisherman.’”
After OM’s school teachers talked with the parents, they agreed to send the boys to school again. Educating children and instructing their parents about the value of education are key means to break the cycle of poverty not only for one individual but an entire community. OM’s relational approach selects teachers and supervisors who care for the students. Many of the teachers are believers in Jesus and are bringing a noticeable Christian presence to Bangladesh’s most unreached areas.
Seeing the worth and dignity of each individual, OM desires to provide hope and opportunities for a better life—one student, family and community at a time.
Please pray for:
- a community-wide impact as the children attend village primary schools and as OM works with local teachers, supervisors and community leaders. Pray for openness to the Gospel as hope and dignity are restored to communities.
- young girls to continue in education and not be forced to marry. In Bangladesh, 65% of girls are married before their 18th birthday, 29% even before they turn 15. Educating girls helps break the cycle of child marriage and the poverty that contributes to it.
Educate a child, break the bonds of slavery:
It costs just $US 80 for a child to attend one year of school through OM’s Village Primary Schools. Would you consider a generous gift to break the cycle of poverty for generations to come? To give, please contact your local OM office or visit www.om.org/en/give. With your help, we can end illegal child labour in Bangladesh. Thank you!
Published: Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Credit: Leah Paxton