2020-21 was extremely difficult and challenging time as Covid-19 swept around the world.The pandemic had a devastating impact on the poorest and most disadvantaged families with significant increases in hunger and destitution,school dropout,childmarriage and child labour. In Bangladesh,over4.8 million poor families depended on their children’s labour to enable them to survive financially. In the two years prior to the pandemic, our surveys in the local areas where we work in Sylhet recorded a reduction in child labour of 35%. This was a significant local step towards the national goal of ending child labouri n Bangladesh by 2025.However, in 2020 it became clear that the pandemic threatened to reverse progress towards what is our ultimate goal. Through out pandemic period the UKBET team in Sylhet continued their work and programmes introducing stringent Covid-secure safety measures.
COVID HEALTH AND SAFETY
UKBET team raised awareness amongst working children,their families,colleagues and employers about the importance of frequent and thorough hand-washing,social distancing and the use of face masks.We distributed 2,500 protective face masks and10,000 leaflets.
GRANTS FOR FOOD AND FOOD PARCEL DISTRIBUTION
UKBET raised funds to buy food for 378 of the poorest families struggling even more than usual to meet their basic needs.
SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES
2,863 calls were made to families giving information and guidance relating to the pandemic and signposting to local and national services,as well as generally checking in on each family’s well being.
We provided interest-free micro-grants to 34 vulnerable families who had lost whatever savings they had,their small business or their job during the pandemic.With an average grant of £50,they were able to resume or start to generate income and this significantly reduced their dependence on child labour.
With support from Rotary International UKBET organised free medical camps for working children and their families and 107 people received free treatment and medicine.
All donations make a profound impact to the futures of working children.No matter the amount,they are always much appreciated. With their kind support, we were able to navigate a very difficult year.