According to UNICEF, there are about 20 million children under the age of 5 in Bangladesh. Moreover, 5.6 million of the total population reside in urban areas and 0.6 million in slums. Parents of majority of these slum children have migrated from various rural parts of the country and are living as daily laborers (40%) and RMG workers (30%). Around 46% of these slum children are underweight and 63% are deprived of pre-school education, while more than 35% do not have access to primary education. All these slum children are Bangladeshi and the future of our country depends upon the healthy development of our youngest citizens. If we cannot provide them modern education and fail to develop their early childhood, the national development is most likely to fail. Being a key factor of development paradigm, education plays a main role in the development realm nationally; while modern education significantly contributes in making us part of a global village. Culturally, Bangladeshi people are used to contribute to the education sector, patronising religious education institutes (madrasa, maktab, missionary schools), supporting lodging of students, making donations (religious donations e.g. zakat, fitra, qurbani etc). However, many times, these practices are limited to rural settings regardless of the fact that urban slum dwellers constitute the most deprived rural people. We are therefore taking the initiative to support these slum children from pre-school to formal modern education by linking our cultural practice of patronising educational activities with the underserved children.
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