The Maria Cristina Foundation has been working in the Gawair slum community in Bangladesh for 13 years. We have educated hundreds of underprivileged children and their parents. We have broken long-standing negative social norms, which allow children as young as 12 to get married and turn a blind eye to child labour. With quality education, every child can fulfil their potential, dream big and break the cycle of poverty. Where one is born should not dictate how far one can go.
Children, who are born in the slums are usually not educated, their families do not have the means to do so. Children are seen as a source of income and rarely pass more than 4 grades. They work in garment factories, as day labourers, rickshaw pullers and maids; the girls are often married off as early as 13. This creates generations of uneducated people, who are unable to fight poverty. There are thousands of slum-dwellers and the numbers keep increasing. We can change that with education.
Maria Cristina Foundation has educated over 600 children since 2005. These children experience extreme hardships, but they dream big. Many of our graduates have broken the chains of poverty and are now educating their younger siblings and relatives. We have ambitious girls, who want to become pilots, young boys who want to build businesses and rejuvenate their community. We have broken long-standing social norms through our adult education programs.
Our aim is to educate a generation, who will be able to put their younger siblings through school and whose children will no longer be born in the slums. We have been working with 101 families for 13 years in order to make maximum impact for them. There are thousands more that require help, but we can start small, yet efficiently.