Dhaka is the capital and biggest city of Bangladesh.
It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with 22.5 million people living in the greater Dhaka area. Many families move to the capital in hope of a better future and job opportunities.
However, an estimated four million migrants live in one of the 5000 slums at the border of the city. Life in these slums is extremely difficult, and children are suffering most from these harsh living conditions. Many do not get enough food and can only dream of going to school. Furthermore, many children in Dhaka are forced to marry at an early age.
Since 1972, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Dhaka.
Dhaka’s population is growing by 6% every single year. People from rural areas come to the capital in search of a better future. However, they often end up in terrible living conditions, in slums on the border of the city. Dhaka is considered one of the 10 least livable cities in the world. To illustrate this, many rivers run through Dhaka, and Buriganga is one of the most well-known for its incredible pollution. Not only is chemical waste dumped in the river, but also domestic garbage, dead animals, sewage, plastics and petroleum. 4.5 tons of waste is thrown in the river each day! This affects the inhabitants, who rely on the river for cleaning, washing and water supply. Children’s health is even more at risk due to this water pollution.
Bangladesh ranks among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest levels of child marriage. This means a harrowing 51% of women aged 20 to 24 were first married before 18. Child marriage is a violation of the universal declaration of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. Married girls in Bangladesh are over four times more likely to be out of school than unmarried girls.
Furthermore, there is also an increased risk of child pregnancies and domestic violence. In Dhaka specifically, 9 million girls were married as a child. The government has set a national target to end child marriage by 2041.