Go into one of millions of homes in Bangladesh and you will find a young girl aged between 6 and 16 at work.
She will be cooking, cleaning, caring for the young and the old and too often at risk of abuse and physical violence. The domestic enslavement of young girls is commonplace.
It is the extremes of poverty that drives parents in Bangladesh to send their daughters to work instead of to school. Domestic labour deprives young girls of their family life, childhood and education. They are hidden from view and without advocates.
UKBET, a UK registered charity working in Sylhet for the past 30 years, is now acting on their behalf.
The charity has developed ‘Doorstep Learning’ a programme that brings teaching and learning to the doorstep of young girls at work and attacks the root cause of family poverty. Doorstep Learning is innovative and effective, it:
- trains a team of local young women to become ‘community teachers’;
- supports the team in accessing child domestic labourers and teaching the girls basic literacy, numeracy and life skills 3 times a week;
- organises visits to parents to understand their situation and help them find ways of earning money so their daughters don’t need to work;
- and it has encouraged and enabled over half of the 445 young girls in the programme this year to leave work and go to school or into vocational training.
- Annette Zera, founder and chair of UKBET says: Doorstep Learning, if scaled up, could make a huge contribution to ending child domestic labour across Bangladesh.
“The programme isn’t expensive, it could be done. UKBET now needs to make a step change in promoting itself to attract and work with friends, partners and sponsors so that every young girl can receive an education, be released from work and have a chance of a better future.”
Find out more: www.ukbet-bd.org