The dignity and protection of orphaned children in Bangladesh will be the focus of a new Islamic Relief project.

The Alternative Orphan Family Sponsorship Programme was recently launched as a pilot project. It is based in Kurigram district of northern Bangladesh. The current programme differs from the already successful one-to-one sponsorship scheme – which supports 38,000 vulnerable children in 24 countries, including Bangladesh – in also supporting the family or guardian of an orphaned child to build a sustainable livelihood.

This four-year project will help poor families to achieve a lasting income, so they can support themselves, as well as enabling orphaned children to gain better access to education and social protection.

Routes out of poverty for hundreds of children

The launch event in Kurigram.

The launch event in Kurigram.

Mainiddin Ahmed, acting head of the orphan and child welfare programme for Islamic Relief, said: “Islamic Relief Bangladesh has initiated the project to ensure sustainable development, through increasing the income of orphaned children and their families.”

Around 700 children and their families will be supported through the programme.

An event held to launch the programme was attended by about 100 people including the guest of honour, Deputy Commissioner of Kurigram, Mr Azad, who said the project would play a vital role in tackling the vulnerability of orphaned children and their families, and praised plans for a transparent selection procedure.

As well as providing direct support to vulnerable families, Islamic Relief is also securing positive social change by working with policy-makers to improve the lives of orphaned children in Bangladesh.