I remember for the first time driving into the slums. It was a world apart from literally across the road where the super-rich congregated. The distinct pungent smell and where people are literally crawling over each other due to the overcrowding are the first things that were apparent to me. As I was walking up to the schools where our projects cater for the some of the poorest children in the country, I noticed how sewage water was pouring all over the place.
I met Jannat al-Firdaws, a young girl that we support. I was immediately drawn to her, she had this eagerness and urgency in her. Once we got speaking to the teacher, we were told like many other children in the slums, she had a very sad story. Dhaka a city of 12 million, Jannat al-Firdaws and her mother are amongst the 3 million slum dwellers.
Upon visiting their accommodation we witnessed their poor state of living. Shelter made out of tin-plated roofs and walls, that show the signs of being battered by the rainy season. It would only take a one burst of monsoon rain to wash away all their belongings. Right next to their house, was a lake of sewage water. There is so much rubbish being thrown into it, it has formed a layer of carpet. Children who had nowhere to go, were loitering around on this floating carpet of dirt.
Jannat al-Firdaws' house and the area she lived in is an unfit dwelling for human habitation. The area is cramped, dilapidated, unclean, poor sewage and with very limited access to hygienic sanitation. Having access to clean drinking water is a luxury she can only imagine of.
Jannat al-Firdaws lives in the slum with her single mother not out of choice, but out of dire poverty. Life in the slums is bleak, the environment and the future that it holds for anyone is not promising. Our intervention through food and schooling is the only glimmer of hope of any prospect of a future.
We're doing everything we can to change the lives of many young children like Jannat al-Firdaws.
Every school day, we feed over 900 schoolchildren in the heart of Dhaka’s slums.
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