We’ve all heard of Bangladesh but where is it? It was originally Eastern Pakistan but became the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 1971 and became a democracy in 1990. It has a population of 161.3 million and has widespread poverty and overcrowding.
The Sreepur Village charity is firmly non-political and oversees Shishu Polli Plus (SPP) which translated means Childrens Village Plus. They work with destitute mothers and children and endeavour to give them knowledge, skills, and the standard of health they need to function in society. Over 150 mothers and 540 children are supported by SPP.
The charity is responsive to local needs and help support vulnerable children who may have been abandoned or trafficked. The environment they provide is safe and loving with food, clothing, and education so that the children and their mothers can look forward to having independent lives and not backwards at their former lives. They have recently set up a support centre in the Krurigram/Chilmari region of northern Bangladesh as women and children living on sand banks known as chars are having their lives threatened by climate change.
On arrival at Sreepur Village there are checks made to ensure that women with children seeking help fulfil the criteria to stay in the village and then spend a week in their clinic so that any illnesses can be spotted and treated.
The women hold regular meetings to talk about life, any problems that they may have and how to improve life at Shishu Polli. Whilst living there the women are paid an allowance and they join a compulsory savings scheme so that when they are ready to join society again they have funds for when they leave.
SPP ensure that the children who arrive without mothers have a good quality life. They feel that it is important to give them the skills and knowledge to take their place in society when the time is right. Boys over 11 are fostered with families in local villages which is beneficial for both the boys and the families.
The children are considered to be in the care of SPP until (in the case of boys) they have been successfully employed for six months in a permanent job or, for the girls, have been married successfully for two years.
Whilst Sreepur Village obviously needs support successful businesses are run from there. They make paper and greetings cards and both lines are very popular. The Guardian has said that their Christmas cards are the best! They also do a small range of other goods which you can see here.
If you’d like to see the village then take a photo tour!