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Ministry Highlight: Bangladesh
Posted By Web Team On October 28, 2011 @ 1:07 am In Country Staff | 8 Comments
Compassion began its ministry in Bangladesh in June 2004 with the Child Sponsorship Program, and the Child Survival Program began in 2010. The year 2010 also marked five years of ministry in Bangladesh as well as registration of the 15,000th child.
Additionally, the government of Bangladesh declared our ministry an International NGO in 2008, enabling us to use our logo with the tagline “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name,” which is significant for a country that is primarily Muslim and closed to the gospel.
Kajal K. Sengupta joined us in 2007 as Country Director. Prior to joining our ministry, Kajal held the position of Chief Accountant for USAID at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka from 2003 until 2007, and Grants Controller for CARE Bangladesh from 2002 to 2003.
Kajal holds a Master’s of Business Administration from East West University, as well as a Master’s of Commerce from Chittagong University.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Bangladesh with whom we work to deliver child development programs and ministry in the field.
The majority of discrimination against Christians comes from Muslims who deny Christians access to higher-level government jobs. Non-Christians, specifically Muslims, cannot receive Jesus Christ openly due to religious threats. If somebody does receive Christ, he or she will be banished from society. The evangelical churches in Bangladesh face a great deal of risk.
Implementing Church Partner leaders are working hard to recruit qualified staff for the child development centers, but extensive training is needed to comply with ministry standards.
Another challenge is the concept of partnership. Currently, some Implementing Church Partners look at their partnership with our ministry as a “cow and milker” relationship. We are the cow and the Implementing Church Partners are the milkers. This is consistent with the beggar mentality that has plagued Bangladesh for 30 years.
Natural disasters are another challenge. Every year Bangladesh deals with natural calamities such as floods, famine, cyclones, etc. In recent years, abnormal flooding has increased dramatically, causing serious damage to lives and property.
Child Survival Program
The Child Survival Program is new in Bangladesh. Registration was completed in September 2010 and the program began in October 2010.
The Child Survival Program Implementer and the church pastor also encourage the fathers to take proper care of their wives and children.
Child Sponsorship Program
Your sponsorship of a child in Bangladesh provides a variety of benefits.
Schools in Bangladesh start around 10:30 a.m. and the children come to the child development center around 8 or 8:30 a.m. before school.
After school the children return to the center to have a meal and spend several hours doing activities. The reasons children spend so many hours at the center are malnutrition and the need for educational support.
We want to provide meals and additional support for their schooling every day. We are also fortunate that our funds go further in Bangladesh so we are able to have the children at the child development centers for longer periods of time.
Children also spend 8 hours at the child development center on holidays.
Meals generally consist of rice and lentils along with either vegetables, fish, eggs, meat or potatoes. None of the child development centers serve beef or pork; all of the centers serve chicken and some serve mutton.
This spiritual curriculum is used only for children 11 years old and above. The children learn about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible.
Activities also include sports competitions among multiple child development centers, singing/dancing classes and competitions, drama classes, drawing classes and competitions, and Bible quizzes.
Also, adolescents participate in a special Bible training called “Mail Box Club” and attend spiritual camps.
During the home visits, the social worker and tutors further educate the parents about the importance of education as well as suitable environments for children.
Children in this area are vulnerable and deprived of education and spiritual and physical growth opportunities. There are a number of Christian churches who could be potential partners.
Our core Child Sponsorship Program, while comprehensive, does not address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. The Complementary Interventions program was created to work with our holistic child development model to provide additional services, such as our AIDS Initiative, Bibles for all children, disaster relief and water projects.
Complementary Interventions in Bangladesh have included medical services to Cyclone Aila-affected centers in 2009. At that time we provided oral saline, water purification tablets, medicine and primary health treatment to 644 people including children, parents and community members.
We are currently providing a deep tube well/ring, which is a hand pump to collect water for child development centers who are suffering from a lack of safe drinking water. This program is incorporated with the water and hygiene education given to Child Sponsorship Program families.
We are also distributing insecticide-treated nets to the malaria-prone areas and working to raise awareness about malaria.
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