Islamic Relief has pushed for improved support for orphaned children in Bangladesh, in a special event held to mark the first ever Day of the Orphan.

This Ramadan saw the Muslim world celebrate the first ever Day of the Orphan. The initiative, which was developed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), raises global awareness about the hardship faced by orphaned children in the world’s poorest communities.

Islamic Relief Bangladesh was amongst our offices worldwide to celebrate the day, held on the fifteenth day of Ramadan, with events held in six areas countrywide. Our special event held in Dhaka brought together government ministers, top officials, NGOs and donors to raise awareness.

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Islamic Relief’s support meant Dipa Rani Das could return to school.

Giving children the opportunities of an education

Mohammed Mizanur Rahman addressed the event. After his father died in 2002, his mother could not afford to send him to school. With support through Islamic Relief’s orphan sponsorship scheme, Mizanur was able to return to primary school – and is now studying Journalism and Mass Communication at Jagannath University.

Dipa Rani Das also spoke about how Islamic Relief enabled her to return to school after the death of her father. Now in grade ten, Dipa is doing well at school and is looking forward to a brighter future.

Protecting and assisting vulnerable children

Advocate Nurjahan Begum Mukta, a Member of Parliament, highlighted the importance of protecting vulnerable children – particularly those driven by poverty into hazardous child labour. Mohammed Shahariar Alam, State Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed the work of Islamic Relief and noted the need to protect the rights of orphaned children to education, healthcare and food.

A number of recommendations arose from the session, including:

  • National policy must seek to mainstream orphaned children into formal education
  • Vulnerable families require support to generate an income so they can provide for orphaned children
  • Vocational training and job placement should be offered to help vulnerable children to escape hazardous child labour
  • A national network or platform is required to coordinate efforts to assist orphaned children
  • Accurate data on orphaned children in Bangladesh is urgently required.

Around 3,500 orphaned children in Bangladesh are currently sponsored through Islamic Relief. The scheme provides a regular allowance to meet their basic needs, and which enables them to go to school.