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Dec 11, 2019

Catalyzing Children's Growth for a Better Life

Catalyzing Children
Catalyzing Children's Growth for a Better Life

Nutritional challenges in countries like Bangladesh can begin from the moment of conception to birth. The cycle can continue for a longer period of time. Low birth weight, limited or no access to quality food and poor dietary practices has long-lasting consequences, such as diminished mental ability and learning capacity that may lead to poor school performance.

In Bangladesh, more than 9.5 million children are stunted, a symptom of malnutrition. Children suffering from stunting may never reach their full possible height nor their full cognitive potential. Rates of malnutrition in the country are among the worst in the world. This is a bigger issue for women in Bangladesh, more than 50% of women suffer from chronic energy deficiencies that hamper their ability to reach their full potential. Improving nutrition will have a critical impact on not only survival but physical and cognitive development and productivity. Good nutrition is comprised of satisfactory quality and the quantity of intake, which is a basic human right as well as essential input for economic development and progress. 

Helping Kids Thrive 

One of the greatest factors for malnutrition among children in Bangladesh is household food insecurity, this is why JAAGO implements the ‘Healthy Living’ program as it ensures that our students have access to at least one nutritious meal a day. JAAGO is delighted to partner with Thrive, an organisation that aims to provide healthy and nutritious meals to hungry children in the poorest parts of the world, to help feed the students at our schools. Thrive and JAAGO has worked together to determine the needs of our students are. Studies show that children in Bangladesh suffer from high rates of micronutrient deficiencies, specifically zinc, vitamin A and iron deficiencies. Therefore, Thrive has complied foods that will address these concerns such as Banana that contain potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, potassium, iron and biotin which has benefits for the heart, digestion, energy, bone strength, brain power and vision. Thrive provides food to 5 of our schools. Very recently, they have started operating in our Dinajpur and Gaibandha schools as well. Charity Rights also provides food to our kids once a week and we welcome more partners and donors who will help us feed our children! 

A Fun Day with Nutritious Food!

At JAAGO we believe in giving our children the most nutrient rich foods available in order to combat the rise in micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, in the winter season when there is a surplus of vegetable crops we host a ‘Vegetable Festival’ teaching them how to cook with the vegetables and making khichuri, a Bangladeshi dish. The kids enjoy a fun day with dancing, singing and finish with enjoying the khichuri they made. This allows our kids to learn important life skills regarding food such as how to make healthy meals and clean and prepare vegetables. 

Thank You Note 

Being a nonprofit organisation we always look for support from our donors and other organisations to ensure that we are giving our children the opportunities they deserve. We would like to express our gratitude to all the donors supporting this project, allowing us to give our children the best chance at a better life. Food will fuel our students and allow them to achieve their dreams.  

Helping Kids Thrive
Helping Kids Thrive
Helping Kids Thrive
Helping Kids Thrive
A Fun Day with Nutritious Food!
A Fun Day with Nutritious Food!
Dec 9, 2019

Educate A Girl and You Educate An Entire Nation

JAAGO recognises that the future of our nation lies in the hands of the girls in our country, therefore JAAGO strives to ensure that we give our students the best chance. JAAGO works to give our girls something that can never be taken away from them - an education. As Michelle Obama once said “When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous”. While formal education in traditional subjects (such as maths, english etc.) are important, to assure the success of our students JAAGO takes a more holistic approach. Placing an emphasis on life skills such as financial literacy and sanitation. Thus, allowing our female students at JAAGO to be more than just academically successful.   

 

Teaching Girls to have Financial Control over their Lives 

The World Bank has stressed the importance of financial inclusion in being a key enabler in reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. JAAGO has recently collaborated with the Mutual Trust Bank (MTB) in Bangladesh to introduce a new program called ‘MTB ANKUR’ (translating to MTB Seedlings), which will allow JAAGO students in our Rayer Bazar and Banani schools to open their own savings account without service or maintenance costs. 

Studies show that when a woman controls her own finances, she invests in health, nutrition and the education of her family - investments that has the ability to create intergenerational change with a ripple effect in her community. For women, particularly those with low incomes, saving accounts are a complete game changer. 

JAAGO’s collaboration with MTB will teach our students the importance of savings and how it can be used to facilitate not only day-to-day living but also allows for them to plan for long-term goals (such as University) and unexpected emergencies, therefore improving the overall quality of their lives. 

 

Changing the World: One Bar of Soap at a Time  

Lifebuoy's renowned ‘School of Five’ has been implemented into our Banani school. Through the introduction of 5 superhero characters, Unilever’s Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ are encouraging students in schools to wash their hands 5 times a day, to help prevent infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two leading causes of death for children under the age of 5. Since the launch of their program in 2006, Unilever has seen a global 36% reduction in childhood deaths from diarrhoea from 2008-2016, which is equivalent to over 265,000 lives saved. 

The introduction of the ‘School of Five’ will teach our girls as well as their families the most effective way to wash their hands and the importance of proper sanitation. Women often bear the brunt of inadequate water and sanitation services, due to social and cultural stigma that persists within their communities, such as drinking and eating less so they won’t need to use the latrine during the day where they can be seen or assaulted. The ‘School of Five’ will allow them to build confidence and ensure they don’t compromise healthy habits regarding sanitation to bend to social norms. 

 

Why JAAGO needs your help! 

At the launch of the MTB ANKUR at our Banani Junior School we sat down with one of our students Fatima* and her mother Sakina*. When asked how such an amazing opportunity could change her life Fatima* said, “I am very happy and excited, with the small amount of money I am saving I can help my family in the hospital and I can sponsor a JAAGO student after I graduate from JAAGO school”. Sakina* was overjoyed explaining that growing up in a slum she never imagined she would be able to see her daughter grow up and be able to have access to places such as a bank. In Bangladesh, it is often the men in the family that have a voice when it comes to how and what money is spent on, leaving the women at a disadvantage. This initiative has the ability to change that for the girls at JAAGO, and we need help to expand these opportunities to include more girls living in the slums of Bangladesh. 

*All the individuals whose names and identity have been used in the narrative have given us their consent to publish their names and story prior to the writing of this report.   

Thank You Note

We wish to express our sincerest gratitude to the donors of this project as they are not only gifting female children with the opportunity to receive quality education but also pave the way for them to bring about sustainable change within their communities, in turn supporting the nation in the future.

MTB ANKUR Introduction at JAAGO
MTB ANKUR Introduction at JAAGO's Banani School
Lifebuoy
Lifebuoy's School of Five Launch
Nov 4, 2019

Protecting their Lives, Minds and the Future

Protecting their Lives, Minds and the Future
Protecting their Lives, Minds and the Future

The Rohingya people have faced decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Such oppression and mistreatment has forced Rohingya women, girls, boys and men into Bangladesh for many years, with significant spikes following violent attacks in 1978, 1991-1992, and again in 2016. The greatest influx of Rohingya people into Bangladesh happened in 2017 when 745,000 Rohingya, including 400,000 children have fled into Cox’s Bazar.

During the displacement of the Rohingya people, it was the children who caught attention of many people. Almost 60% of the refugees were children who had experienced major violence and brutality at a tender age. In their own country they had no legal identity and after displacement to Bangladesh, Rohingya children are not being registered at birth, having no identity or citizenship. It is not known to anyone for how long they will be displaced. Meanwhile, the children are unable to receive formal education which keeps them deprived of the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in future.

With the support of the government and humanitarian partners, refugees have gained access to some basic services. Yet, major dependency remains on short-term aid because of them living in unstable conditions in the congested camps which are hugely difficult and sometimes dangerous during monsoon and cyclone seasons.

JAAGO introduced the Safe Haven project for the psychological and spiritual betterment of the Rohingya children in 2018. The traumatized Rohingya children needed a safe space where they can be engaged in regular childhood social experiences. The concept was to provide learning opportunities for them and heal them emotionally as much as possible. After receiving the GlobalGiving Feedback Fund Grant, JAAGO has been successfully initiating and integrating feedback from 500 Rohingya Children and 1,000 parents.

A Doze of Nutrition Everyday

Since past two years, malnutrition among Rohingya children has been one of the most critical considerations. Long journey across the border and poor living conditions in the camp are thought to be the key cause of malnutrition among Rohingya children. According to UNICEF’s nutrition specialist Joseph Senesie “If the child is not fed well, the child’s brain will not develop well and that will affect their educational consequences and that will affect their productive capacities as they grow up in the future.”

In Cox’s Bazar, there are 85 nutrition centers across the camps. The children receive therapeutic food and they are examined in the cases of severe malnutrition. Although there are fruit and vegetable stands in the camps, but many families can’t afford them because they have no income and depend solely on the aid. Understanding the importance of proper nutrition, JAAGO provides nutritious food every day to the 500 children under the Safe Haven project. The food menu contains proteins, carbohydrates and fruits. During the time of Ramadan, the children also received nutritious snacks during iftar.

Nurturing Creativity and Strengthening their Imagination

Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Imagination is the endless door of possibilities. It is where thinking outside the box begins for child development. Imaginative and creative play is how children learn about the world. They tend to see things from a very different perspective and form pictures in their minds and that is what makes them different. At times, parents and adults nurture children's imaginations and take joy in their creative thoughts and acts. But unfortunately, the Rohingya children have been deprived of many creative joys.

As JAAGO works to provide psychological support to these disadvantaged children, regularly games and art classes are arranged for them. The children often team up together to play both outdoor and indoor games. Games such as “Ludo” are very popular among the kids and the teachers at times accompany them which create a very welcoming impact. These children also get a chance to spread colors on their imaginations very frequently. They are provided with notebooks, colors and other stationaries required and asked to draw and bring their imaginations to the papers. These relaxing activities have a very affirmative impact on the minds of these children.

Going an Extra Mile

Although JAAGO does not provide proper educational support to these Rohingya children under the Safe Haven project but we do give them books and a positive environment to thrive in. It is important to create an environment where they feel they need to develop their knowledge and skills for a better future. Hence, there is no other way to encourage them other than offering them books to read. In the light of this thought, recently some bookshelves were setup in the safe space camps where books for their age were kept. They would feel free to come to the safe space camps an read the books according to their interests.

The infrastructure in the Rohingya camps is temporary and highly congested. There is no proper water and sanitation facilities, they are vulnerable to natural disasters and also do not have adequate supply of electricity. To keep the lights and fans in the safe space camps functioning, new solar panels were setup. These solar panels will be very functional and convenient for the children coming to the camps.

Expressing Gratitude

The quality of being generous and kind is not something that everyone has. With the utmost sincerity we at JAAGO would like to convey our gratefulness to our national and international sponsors, corporate partners and donors. Without their contribution our journey to support these Rohingya refugee children would not have progressed. Thank you for contributing for this humanitarian cause and enlighten these children’s lives!

A Doze of Nutrition Everyday
A Doze of Nutrition Everyday
Nurturing Creativity and Strengthening Imagination
Nurturing Creativity and Strengthening Imagination
Nurturing Creativity and Strengthening Imagination
Nurturing Creativity and Strengthening Imagination
Going an Extra Mile
Going an Extra Mile
Going an Extra Mile
Going an Extra Mile
Expressing Gratitude
Expressing Gratitude
 
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