Children’s Heaven was founded by some young social activists in 2012 with a mission to protect the basic rights of the deprived children living in Bangladesh. They had an aim to develop the living standard of the children who are deprived of their basic human rights through providing them education, shelter, food, medical support and accommodation. Since then the volunteers of Children’s Heaven have been trying their best to bring smile on the faces of the children they are working for. Today, Children’s Heaven is a youth organization that works in four districts of the country to ensure bright futures of thousands of children living in these areas. Children’s Heaven reach out to children who are living on the streets. Every week Children’s Heaven deals with hundreds of street children in Dhaka. We invite the children to a new lifestyle where they can learn to say no to substance abuse, criminal activity and immoral life. Our focus is to build into these street children children’s lives as much as possible and to look into their situation at home or in society. To see whether it is possible to reunify them with their families and therefore help build a family that is sustainable, having an impact not only on the child but also on the community as a whole. Children are our passion!
ABOUT Children’s Heaven
WHO WE ARE
In Bangladesh, 36 percent of the population earn less than one dollar per day. Poverty, discrimination, and the eﬀects of natural disasters pose serious challenges to children. Maternal mortality rates remain unacceptably high in Bangladesh, despite signiﬁcant improvements over the past 20 years. Most births still take place at home, without medical assistance. Millions of children are malnourished and roughly half of the children under age ﬁve are underweight.
WHY WE ARE
EducationPoverty is a big threat to primary education. Adult literacy rates have increased from 34.6% in 1990 to 65% in 2006. However, Bangladesh has one of the world’s lowest literacy rates, with an estimated 50 million illiterate adults. The practice of child labour is prevalent with nearly 50 per cent of primary school students dropping out before they complete 5th grade. The total working child population between 5 and 17 is estimated at 7.9 million. A total of 1.3 million children are estimated to be working 43 hours or more per week.
Children on the streetThere is a rising number of children living or working in urban centers, notably in the capital city. Government statistics based on a survey by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, estimate the number of street children in Bangladesh to be around 380,000 – of whom 55% are in Dhaka city. These children become prime targets of organized child traﬃcking rings. Many families fall apart. Out of desperation parents abuse their children, which leads the children to the street. Street children are victims of abuse, violence, rape, substance abuse and addiction. They are often severely beaten, arrested, kidnapped or even murdered.
JusticeChildren under the age of 18, having been sentenced or not, are imprisoned and held together with adult prisoners for long periods of time. Children younger than 15 years have been condemned to life sentences and children younger than 18 years old to the death penalty. Notably, the age of criminal responsibility for juveniles is set at 9 years of age. Children are often kept together with grown-ups in jail after long police detentions, and there have been reports of ill-treatment.
Working ChildrenThere are more than thirty-ﬁve laws that seek to protect children from negligence, cruelty, exploitation and abuse and to promote their development. There is a lack of enforcement mechanisms of speciﬁc laws to protect child workers and very limited data on the number of aﬀected children. However, implementation of these laws is seen as a challenge. The Children Act, 1974, currently under review, is the principal law that provides for care, protection and treatment for children. Studies in Bangladesh revealed that over 40 types of economic activities done by children were hazardous.
TraﬃckingTraﬃcking, sexual abuse and exploitation are also crucial threats for children. Oﬃcial estimates suggest that over 13 000 children were traﬃcked out of the country in the last ﬁve years. As many as 20 000 children are exploited in street prostitution. Many girls from Bangladesh are traﬃcked into India for purposes of sexual exploitation. Boys from Bangladesh are traﬃcked to Middle-Eastern countries to be engaged as camel jockeys. Domestic violence is a daily reality for many and dowry-related crimes are reported to be increasing. Sexual abuse commonly happens in the home or community, often perpetrated by someone familiar to the child. A study in Bangladesh revealed that around six per cent of children in commercial sex work initially left home to avoid sexual abuse at their own home or by their own family.
Harmful practiceHarmful traditional practices particularly involving girls, such as dowry crimes and early and forced marriages, have a direct impact on their health, development and full enjoyment of their rights. Girls also experience gender-based violence as a result of these practices In Bangladesh has many young and single mothers. They are separated; their husband is deceased or moved to another region. For the daily care of their children, these women stand alone. Many of these mothers are forced to leave their children alone if they go to work. Older children quit school to take care of their brothers and sisters. The little children even stay at home alone. They are locked in the house or wander around on the streets. .