"Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."

Nelson Mandela

Help us During Ramadan

Help us During Ramadan

Please consider us when donating Sadaqah or your Zakat.

Remember, when you give someone charity, be thankful to them. You may be fixing their Dunya, but you are fixing your Akhirah.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said ‘Sadaqah wipes out sins like water extinguishes fire.’

Our Mission

Posted by: on Mar 18, 2019 | No Comments

Play Therapy Training In Action.

Posted by: on Sep 26, 2019 | No Comments

We have had some fantastic feedback from the delegates who participated in the ‘Foundation Course in Therapeutic Play’ we ran at Dhaka University in March 2019.

Training in play therapy techniques Cox’s Bazaar

Delegates have been sharing their experiences and the techniques they learned with their organisations.

 

 

 

 

 

“Dear Orphan Trust

I am writing you to let you know about the experience sharing of our training- Foundation course in therapeutic play, which was carried out on 16th July :  9 AM-1 PM at Handicap International (HI) , Cox’s Bazar (ukhiya office). The respondents were Psycho-social Support Officer of HI. I have added some photographs of the incident in attachments. However, The training appears to have been effective for betterment of mental health in Bangladesh. We are grateful to you and Prof. Gordon for the training and would welcome such of this kind in the future. 

Kind Regards,  

K.N Khan

Psychosocial Support Officer  Handicap International (HI)”

 

With your support we hope to run more courses to train front line workers in play therapy to address the mental health needs of the underprivileged children of Bangladesh

Help us During Ramadan

Help us During Ramadan

Posted by: on May 10, 2019 | No Comments

Please consider us when donating Sadaqah or your Zakat.

Remember, when you give someone charity, be thankful to them. You may be fixing their Dunya, but you are fixing your Akhirah.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said ‘Sadaqah wipes out sins like water extinguishes fire.’

Street Play With Pothoshishu

Posted by: on Mar 30, 2019 | No Comments

Today I joined Pothoshishu on their street play session with the children at Sadarghat, the main ferry terminal in Dhaka.

Hazera aged 9 lives with her mother on the streets

Pothoshishu are an organisation we have been supporting since 2012 that run regular play sessions at various locations throughout Dhaka where there are big communities living on the streets including families, orphans and runaways. Once a week these children take a break from their work or begging to step onto the Pothoshishu mat and be children for a few hours. Whilst they play, draw, relax, the volunteers talk to the children find out their situation, clean their wounds, give them medication and just be with them and love them as children should be loved.

Talking to the children I found out many were born at the terminal and that’s the only home they have known. They sleep on the terminal floor and it even their parents and their parents were born there. It seems some families are trapped in the terminal and have lived there for a few generations. They’ve never known living in a proper home.

Speaking to their mothers, it seems they are resigned to the fact that they’ll be there forever, with no dreams or aspirations of ever getting a roof over heads.

Riad aged 4

The government have centres around the terminal which provide three meals a day for the children and facilities for them to wash. If they wish, they are able to help the children enrol into school. The problem is that the parents need the income from the children and are reluctant to allow them to go to school. There is no desire amongst this group to improve or to move on.

One mother became quite animated when I asked her why she didn’t allow her child to go to the centre for food or enrol him into school. She herself has been brought up on the streets. She claimed the centre was there to drug and steal children for their eyes and their kidneys. She clearly didn’t trust the Government and said “I would rather die free then be trapped in the system where my body parts will get sold off to help rich people”.

Shahejalal, an orphan aged 15

As is usual in Bangladesh, we had a crowd of people gathered around us during this conversation who all agreed with her. It is so sad how apathetic these children are and how they are resigned to their fate. Looking around at these kids some orphaned or accompanied by their parents, they are all ragged with dirty clothes, no shoes, blisters and cuts, but somehow accepting their circumstances.

What do you do when the children and their parents mistrust the system so much? They have been let down by the system and would rather live with nothing, begging, stealing and borrowing, rather than utilise the little help that is available to improve their lives.

This is something we are trying to address by supported projects such as Pothoshishu. In today’s session the children were asked to draw pictures of themselves with their best friends doing a happy activity together.

Khadija aged 8 lives with her family at the terminal

The childrens’ ages ranged from 3 to 15. Some struggled to hold a pencil properly and most struggled to even draw a circle freely. Their hand movements were rigid and concentration tense. That they couldn’t draw a circle freely, or had limited imagination was so sad. Is it an indication of missed childhood, of having to grow up fast as you can’t afford to be a true child when you are living on the street.

These children deserve so much better. Please help us to help them. You can donate here:

 

 

 

 

Habit, an orphan aged 10

Sonia, a runaway aged 15

Rihan, an orphan aged 12

Kushi aged 10

Rubel aged 6

Faisal aged 9

Dilemma

Posted by: on Mar 28, 2019 | No Comments

Since arriving in Dhaka I have had the privilege of sitting with many street children in various locations throughout the city. I have been lucky enough to befriend them, chat and laugh with them, joke and play with them, eat with them and even get cuddles from some of them.

The first thing to note is that I have not seen any girls. In previous visits there were many girls sleeping on the streets. They used to cut their hair short to look like boys to avoid molesters and perverts. Although I have been offered various explanations from the boys, I’m not convinced. I know the truth about where the girls are and why they cannot be seen.

All of the boys that I have met are from very poor backgrounds. They are children of peasants from villages or children of labourers living in city slums. One of the most common themes to our conversations is how the boys came to be on the streets. Most seem to have left home to escape beatings from a step-parent or relative. How severe this violence was is unclear.

To add context, it is common in Bengali culture to hit children. A slap on the back or slap to the back of the head is not unusual, in fact it’s the done-thing.

The people of Dhaka refer to a lot of these street children as ‘dropouts’. Whist their parents are at work as maids, labourers or drivers, the kids skip school and roam the streets. They become lured by the glamour and freedom of street life, earning their own money, free to do as they will. This together with arguments with parents or an uncomfortable life at home at the hands of their guardians causes them to run away. 

The move from a corrugated tin hut or a mud hut or a squalor in the slum to a railway platform or a bus station is not a massive change for them. Once on the streets the kids become accustomed to living without rules and become embroiled in the lower echelons of crime. They have masters (known as mash tans) who control them and it becomes difficult for them to return back home.

I spoke to a few children who tried to go back home but their parents no longer wanted them so they returned to the street. They couldn’t hack the rules of home and all the beatings. Some say they checked in to one of the local children centres run by various government agencies and NGOs throughout the city. After a few weeks or months they go back to the street, because they are mistreated or they cannot tolerate the structure and rules at the centres.

So my dilemma is this; by helping these kids once they’ve left home, are we perpetuating the problem? By showing them help, support and care, are we adding to the lure of street life? If we don’t help them, show them love, support and encourage them to return home or stay in a centre, what will happen to them?

I’m full of questions and do not know the answers. What I do know is that all these boys loved every bit of attention I gave them. They took me into their group as one of their own, cared for me, put me on the bus home, insisted I eat and drink with them and asked me to come back to spend more time with them. They seemed so grateful to have someone who wanted to know them.

For a few hours they were normal children again.