Our partner, PARI Development Trust, is a long-term Christian partner. PARI stands for Participatory Action for Rural Innovation and they are committed to involving the local community in all their projects and empowering them to meet their own needs.
Semi rural and rural areas around Mymensingh in central Bangladesh
How Child Sponsorship works here
PARI staff work with local community volunteers called ‘field animators’, and they are bringing the program to life!
They encourage families to form parents groups, teenage groups and child clubs. Working with field animators, each group identifies the problems in their community, and then develops and implements solutions. The groups are for everyone – not just for families with sponsored children.
Children's clubs are an important part of the program, as they allow children to contribute their ideas, help implement activities and report back on the impact of the program.
In the children's clubs and adolescents' groups, field animators provide training on healthcare and hygiene, and the children also have a chance to have fun! Children play games and socialise as well as chat about the more serious stuff.
Children involved in the groups help plan their activities themselves. One children's club wanted some training in health and sanitation and tree planting, as well as music, dancing and drawing in their weekly meetings. Another child club decided to clean up their village. They made posters with other kids from school and involved parents and teachers. They had a clean-up day and have plans for more in the future!
Each of the children's clubs comes up with their own list of local problems, and they say that the major issues they face is that children in Bangladesh are not going to school, not getting enough to eat and getting sick too often. These kids want to see everyone going to school and eating three meals a day. They also want to see increased family income and better health across the whole community.
PARI has also encourage adults to form self help groups. In these groups they will take part in training to increase their knowledge and skills in savings, health and nutrition, child rights and kitchen gardening. They will also talk about potential opportunities to start income generating projects. The self help groups play a key role in supporting the activities of the children groups and often the topics discussed during meetings are similar to topics that children are discussing.
PARI is also working with local teachers and the parent/teacher associations helping them to work together to improve teaching standards and general school environments
Anjali is 13 and the sister of a sponsored child. She goes to the local high-school and dreams of a future with a career and some independence. So when a matchmaker convinced her parents to marry her off, she was anxious. She didn’t want to get married.
Although child marriage is against the law, two-thirds of all girls in Bangladesh are married by the time they turn 18. Many girls have no choice when their parents decide they will be married, but Anjali is part of a teenagers club run by PARI and they decided to take action.
Members of the group visited Anjali’s parents and talked to them about how Anjali felt, how dangerous pregnancy is for teenagers and how Anjali’s future would be much brighter if she was allowed to finish school.
Anjali was overjoyed to hear that her parents have changed their minds and agreed to support her through high-school.
“I am so happy and go to school with a smile on my face. I want to be a role model for others. I want to see my community stop the practice of early marriage and all children have access to education.”