This pilot project will bring basic education to children working as waste collectors. Children will be taught literacy, numeracy and life skills by specialist community teachers 3 times a week in education centres close to their workplace. At the same time their families will be supported out of poverty enabling the children to enrol in school or vocational training instead of going to work.
In Bangladesh's urban areas there are around 400,000 people, mostly women and children, who survive by collecting, storing and selling solid waste materials. They work with their bare hands sorting material for recycling - paper, plastic, metal and glass - and selling what they find to recycling factories. Childhood days are spent in the worst kind of labour where a range of illnesses - typhoid, diarrhoea, dysentery, tuberculosis, hepatitis, are common.
This project provides numeracy, literacy and life skills sessions with specialist teachers at learning centres near waste dumping hotspots. Fieldworkers will liaise with their parents and encourage children to attend classes 3 times a week. Many of the children are malnourished and have illnesses and injuries, so we will also provide nutritious food and healthcare. The ultimate goal is to enrol the children into school or vocational training whilst helping parents generate a sustainable income.
The children's literacy, numeracy and life skills will be tested at the outset and again at the end of a year. Similarly, the economic, health and wellbeing of the whole family will be assessed at the beginning and reviewed again at the end of the project. It is anticipated that the improvements will be life-changing for adults and children alike, allowing families to be lifted out of extreme poverty and children to attend school and vocational training.