Although the geographical size of Bangladesh is only twice that of New Brunswick, the country has a population of 154 million people. Its capital city, Dhaka, is home to an estimated 12.3 million people, with over 3,000 overcrowded slums and rampant poverty. The average income is less than $2 per day. Located in South Asia between Bengal and Burma, Bangladesh was part of British India until 1947, when it became known as East Pakistan. Then, in 1971, it separated from Pakistan to become Bangladesh. This photo essay depicts the amazing work The Salvation Army is doing to bring hope to the people of Bangladesh.
Literacy and Fair Wages
The literacy rate for men is 54 percent and drops to 32 percent for women. The Salvation Army offers several literacy programs. Whether for women in brothels or poor women from villages, the programs aim to first educate and then build on basic literacy. Participants are taught practical vocational skills, paid a fair wage for the products they make or are provided with an opportunity to join micro-credit loan programs.
Safe Water Projects
It’s estimated that half the population can’t access clean water and 60 percent lack proper sanitation. A major problem for many Bengalis is water contaminated with arsenic. The Salvation Army runs a number of water and sanitation projects that include working with local communities to build water filtration systems. In addition, the Army has built latrines and washroom facilities to help prevent illness and the spread of disease.
The Salvation Army is actively involved with education, supporting several schools with specific attention to children with special needs. An integrated school for the visually impaired as well as a school for the deaf ensures that these children have the same opportunity to achieve as others in the community. The Salvation Army also operates a home for orphaned girls.
The Canada and Bermuda Territory has maintained an active interest in Bangladesh since the country separated from Pakistan. As access to adequate health care is scarce, The Salvation Army operates a number of health clinics, including those that specialize in the testing and treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy, which continue to be problems in Bangladesh.
Sally Ann workshops, now known as The Salvation Army’s Fair Trade movement, began under the direction of a Canadian Salvationist serving in Bangladesh. The Army has also partnered in a variety of projects, including the construction of a new playground at Savar’s Integrated Child Care Centre. Captain Elizabeth Nelson, a Canadian officer, has been serving in Bangladesh as the projects officer.
Take time to learn more about the great work being done in Bangladesh and in our partner territories. Visit Salvationist.ca/partnersinmission for more information or click here to access additional Partners in Mission resource materials.