14 December 2023

From fear to courage: Mim Akter’s success with SwimSafe

On a late afternoon in March 2020, 17-year-old Mim Akter's life had changed into a completely new direction. Her 8-year-old brother, Al Amin, faced the danger of drowning after falling into a pond while trying to climb a tree. Panic gripped Mim as she witnessed her only sibling struggling in the water. Fueled by a mix of instinct and the fear of…, The drowning crisis in Bangladesh, Bangladesh faces a severe drowning crisis, with 40 1  children succumbing to the water every day. Drowning rates are disproportionately high, particularly among rural populations, and 75 per cent of drownings occurred in natural water bodies near homes. The country's vulnerability to flooding only exacerbated the situation. To address this issue,…, Mim Akter in water with her students, showing them breathing, floating, and rescuing techniques., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Kiron Mim Akter in water with her students, showing them breathing, floating, and rescuing techniques. SwimSafe-Saturia-Manikganj-3.JPG, Mim Akter in water with her students, showing them breathing, floating, and rescuing techniques., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Kiron Mim Akter in water with her students, showing them breathing, floating, and rescuing techniques. Mim Akter in water with her students, showing them breathing, floating, and rescuing techniques., A community’s journey to water safety, Through the SwimSafe Programme, Mim taught 200 children in 2022 and more than 200 in 2023. Lessons span three months during favorable weather, ensuring safe conditions for learning. With most sessions occurring after school, accommodating easy attendance for the children, the programme has reached 55,000 children nationally. “After I started to…, Towards collective community empowerment goals, The programme's influence also extends beyond children and practical swimming skills. Through courtyard meetings, the community gains essential skills and awareness about harmful social norms such as child marriage, dowry, child labour, abuse, and different types of violence and exploitation, fostering a sense of community responsibility. Parents…
23 November 2023

A Family’s Journey from Heartache to Hope

MYMENSINGH, Bangladesh – Wearing a dark green hospital gown, Jui stood still and looked through the glass of the Special Care Newborn Unit (SCANU) in Netrokona District Hospital. Her anxious eyes followed every breath of her beloved baby, Rakiba. At only 18 days old, Rakiba was already a warrior fighting for air every second of her life.…, Jui waited outside of the SCANU, with her eyes anxiously following Rakiba.18 days old, Rakiba started having breathing problems that required oxygen therapy., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut Dr. MoumitaSharmin, Medical Officer, checked on Rakiba in the SCANU, Netrokona District Hospital. UNI_06.JPG, Dr. MoumitaSharmin, Medical Officer, checked on Rakiba in the SCANU, Netrokona District Hospital., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut Jui waited outside of the SCANU, with her eyes anxiously following Rakiba.18 days old, Rakiba started having breathing problems that required oxygen therapy. Dr. MoumitaSharmin, Medical Officer, checked on Rakiba in the SCANU, Netrokona District Hospital., Lack of oxygen equipment, For months prior to Rakiba’s delivery, Jui and Rafique had waited for their baby to arrive in this world. They had traced fingers along the ultrasound images of Rakiba and kept them like treasure. They had dreamed about holding and protecting her with the love that they couldn’t give to their previous children. And yet now, that chance to love was…, The leading cause of deaths for children under five, Despite progress in Bangladesh, the mortality rate of children under five remains comparatively high, at 31 deaths per 1000 live births 2 .  Newborn deaths are responsible for over 60 per cent of the deaths under five, with birth asphyxia and injury responsible for 29 per cent as the main cause. Pneumonia has also been the leading cause for under-…, A special care unit for babies, Across public hospitals in the country, UNICEF, along with partners, supported the Government in establishing SCANUs, where nurses and doctors treated low-birthweight and sick newborns like Rakiba. These units were equipped with UNICEF-supported medical equipment, including piped medical oxygen to SCANUs, oxygen concentrators, flowmeters, radiant…, With the support of UNICEF and partners, the SCANU in Netrokona District Hospital is equipped with oxygen equipment., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut With the support of UNICEF and partners, the SCANU in Netrokona District Hospital is equipped with oxygen equipment. UNI_11.JPG, With the support of UNICEF and partners, the SCANU in Netrokona District Hospital is equipped with oxygen equipment., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut With the support of UNICEF and partners, the SCANU in Netrokona District Hospital is equipped with oxygen equipment. With the support of UNICEF and partners, the SCANU in Netrokona District Hospital is equipped with oxygen equipment. “The UNICEF-supported unit has been a blessing in this hospital,” said Dr. Sharmin. “…, Rafique was drying his daughter’s clothes in his house in Netrokona. He regularly sharedhousehold chores with his wife since Rakiba’s delivery., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut Jui held her daughter at home in Netrokona UNI_29.JPG, Jui held her daughter at home in Netrokona., UNICEF Bangladesh/2022/Mukut Rafique was drying his daughter’s clothes in his house in Netrokona. He regularly sharedhousehold chores with his wife since Rakiba’s delivery. Jui held her daughter at home in Netrokona Both parents then attentively listened to the doctor’s advice on how they should take care of Rakiba at home and when they could…, For all newborns, a healthy start in life, Outside the glass wall of the UNICEF-supported SCANU stood parents who were waiting with hope, longing to get a glimpse of their children. Inside, doctors and nurses were going from one incubator to the next, patiently checking on one baby after another. A general view of the SCANU unit in Netrokona Sadar Hospital in Netrokona. Outside stood…
30 August 2023

Navigating social sector allocations in national budget to ensure a better future for children

In June 2023, the National Parliament of Bangladesh approved the national budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The budget was guided by the recovery of the economy impacted by COVID-19 and the macroeconomic challenges due to rising commodity prices. In this context, it was paramount to conduct a detailed review of allocations for the social sector…, Analysing trends in budget utilization, During this event, UNICEF presented the trends and analysis of budget implementation over the last five years. The discussants identified barriers which impede the implementation of the social sector allocations. This analysis showed that over 15 per cent of the original budget allocations has remained unspent due to several procedural and…, Challenges in implementing allocated budget, “Only budget allocation for children is not enough. The quality of services for children should be at the center of the discourse and monitoring the execution of the budget should be a top priority”, said Ishrat Shabnam, Programme Manager, Private Sector - Social Protection and Green Energy Transition, European Union Delegation to Bangladesh. The…, Towards a strengthened mechanism, The key recommendations that emerged from the discussions for overcoming these challenges were a comprehensive approach to project management and implementation, the introduction of effective project monitoring tools and proactive fund utilization mechanisms. All these elements are essential for better public expenditure, which can secure a better…
14 August 2023

Films directed by children living on the streets in Bangladesh catalyse change

Eleven-year-old Sharif* lays out one hand-drawn painting after another, putting together the story that is his life, on a wooden table in his directorial debut, aptly named ‘ Life Storyboard .’ In a voice resonating deep pain, he tells us, “My father comes home drunk every day, and beats my mom, me, and my sister.” He continues to carry the weight…, Filmmaking helps amplify children’s voices, According to a recent UNICEF report , children living on the streets in Bangladesh face shocking levels of deprivation and vulnerability. One in every three of these children live and sleep in public or open spaces (streets, stations, terminals, fields, and parks) without the most basic amenities - exposed to violence, exploitation, and with…, Children embrace the art of filmmaking with joy and enthusiasm., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Turna Children embrace the art of filmmaking with joy and enthusiasm. IMG_7497_jpg.jpg, শিশুরা আনন্দ ও উদ্দীপনার সঙ্গে চলচ্চিত্র নির্মাণে ব্যস্ত।, UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Turna Children embrace the art of filmmaking with joy and enthusiasm. Children embrace the art of filmmaking with joy and enthusiasm. In the workshops, the children delved into and harnessed their experiences. They learned the art of video making, from operating a camera to developing a script and storyboarding to editing…, Colour is brought back into young Khadija’s life in her film ‘Harassment’., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Khadija Colour is brought back into young Khadija’s life in her film ‘Harassment’. OMJ-03.png, Colour is brought back into young Khadija’s life in her film ‘Harassment’., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Khadija Colour is brought back into young Khadija’s life in her film ‘Harassment’. Colour is brought back into young Khadija’s life in her film ‘Harassment’. More than 80 per cent of children living on the streets also reported facing abuse by pedestrians, just like 13-year-old Khadija. Khadija, a young girl who once saw her…, Improving the lives of children on the streets, UNICEF closely collaborates with Bangladesh's Department of Social Services (DSS) to address the critical needs of street children, helping reunite these children with their families, facilitate their school enrolment, and connecting them to the necessary services. UNICEF-supported Child Protection Service Hubs across Bangladesh act as safe spaces…
19 June 2023

Painting with purpose

The narrow, muddy alleyways of Korail slum in Dhaka lead to a small room packed with about 40 children. The mood inside this room with tin walls is happy and cheerful, oblivious to the otherwise gloomy surroundings. Nine-year-old Mim and her friends watch a series of images projected on the wall. Pictures from Bangladesh – fishermen in a boat,…, This fun, interactive art session helps to bring more children to the hubs and connect them to critical services., UNICEF/UN0851640/Mawa Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. UN0851635.jpg, Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., UNICEF/UN0851635/Mawa Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. UN0851645.jpg, Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., UNICEF/UN0851645/Mawa This fun, interactive art session helps to bring more children to the hubs and connect them to critical services. Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Linda Valente Da Silva Acouri, a…, An unusual but effective tool, The art exercise in the community hub has been commissioned by UNICEF and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to make the hubs welcoming, draw more children in to access social services and to help the children to feel a sense of ownership as they work with the artist to express themselves and brighten up the space. “Prior to each…, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851646/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub. UN0851644.jpg, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851644/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub. UN0851639.jpg, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851639/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub. Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub. Bright colours, happy faces: As children…, Scaling up solutions to protect children, Linda and the VACW coordinators have trained 70 local artists, taking them through how she gets children to open up and participate during the art sessions. Together, she and the local artists have now engaged about 50,000 children in 700 community hubs across Bangladesh, focusing on underprivileged children. Although they live right in the heart…, In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0851638/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. UN0855634.jpg, In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0855634/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. UN0851642.jpg, In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0851642/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. UN0851643.jpg, In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0851643/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that…
15 May 2023

Newborn Rohingya refugee baby Hosne Ara and mother Hasina wait out Cyclone Mocha’s landfall

“I have been living with mixed feelings of happiness and anxiety for the last twenty-four hours," says Hasina, a Rohingya refugee living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She gave birth to her daughter, Hosne Ara, a day before Cyclone Mocha wreaked havoc in the southeast coast of Bangladesh.  , A mother’s fears as a cyclone draws near, Baby Hosne Ara born on the eve Cyclone Mocha’s anticipated landfall. Baby Hosne Ara, born on the eve Cyclone Mocha’s anticipated landfall. Cyclone Mocha had the potential to turn into one of the most severe natural disasters to hit Bangladesh in the past five years. For the one million Rohingya refugees living in the densely packed camps in Cox’s…, Preparing for landfall, Staff prepare jerry cans for distribution at the UNICEF warehouse in Cox's Bazar ahead of Cyclone Mocha. UN0841641.jpg, Staff prepare jerry cans for distribution at the UNICEF warehouse in Cox's Bazar ahead of Cyclone Mocha., UNICEF/UN0841641/Lateef Over 3,000 refugee volunteers were trained and equipped to be first responders in the camps. UN0842333.JPG, Over 3,000 refugee volunteers were trained and equipped to be first responders in the camps., UNICEF/ UN0842333/Lateef Rohingya families seek shelter as Cyclone Mocha brought heavy rainfall and strong winds. UN0842329.JPG, Rohingya families seek shelter as Cyclone Mocha brought heavy rainfall and strong winds., UNICEF/ UN0842329/Mukut Staff prepare jerry cans for distribution at the UNICEF warehouse in Cox's Bazar ahead of Cyclone Mocha. Over 3,000 refugee volunteers were trained and equipped to be first responders in the camps. Rohingya families seek shelter as Cyclone Mocha brought heavy rainfall and strong winds. As Cyclone Mocha loomed closer, UNICEF…, Spared the worst, To Hasina’s relief, the Rohingya refugee camps were spared the worst. Even then, the strong winds and heavy rainfall uprooted trees and damaged hundreds of shelters and facilities. The bravery and dedication of thousands of Rohingya refugee volunteers who evacuated hundreds of people to safer locations in the camps helped their own communities. In…
11 May 2023

Getting your baby's first vaccines: Mini Parenting Master Class

Getting your child's first vaccines can cause a lot of anxiety for many parents, but there are ways to make it less stressful for both you and your baby. We spoke to paediatric nurse and mother, Dr. Shannon MacDonald, on the importance of vaccines for children and to get answers to parents' most common questions., Transcript of 'Getting your baby's first vaccines: Mini Parenting Master Class' video, As a parent myself, I know that going to get your child vaccinated can cause a lot of anxiety. You don’t want to do anything to hurt your child and the idea of them getting a needle can cause a lot of concern for parents. So, it’s important to remember there’re lots of strategies you can use. My name is Shannon MacDonald and this is my Mini…, How can you help your baby relax during the vaccination process?, As a nurse I’ve seen many parents who are so anxious about the event themselves that there’s no way the child is ever going to be relaxed about it. So, just having the parent take some deep breaths and speak in a calm voice is the biggest part of the battle, really. The most important thing is for the parents themselves to be calm, because if the…, Why should parents feel confident about vaccinating their babies?, I understand that parents hear lots of scary things about vaccines. I know they see things on the internet, they hear scary stories from friends. I just want to reassure them that the evidence that we have overwhelmingly shows that vaccines are safe and effective, and they are by far the best way to protect children from disease. And so parents…, How do vaccines work?, What vaccines do is they prepare your immune system for when they face germs in the future. So, the idea is you give your body a really weakened form of the germ and your immune system builds a memory to that germ. By giving the child the vaccine and building their immune system then when they encounter that germ in the future, their body is all…, Why is it important for babies to get their vaccines early on?, It’s critical that children get vaccines really young, because that’s when they’re most vulnerable to the diseases. If you provide the vaccine early on, the child’s immune system is ready and then when they encounter those diseases, they’re able to fight. If the child is unprotected at an early age, they’re more likely to get the disease, but…, Are vaccines safe?, Vaccines that are introduced into our routine childhood immunization schedules have all been very rigorously tested and there are processes in place to monitor that safety after the vaccine is introduced to the population as well. The ingredients that go into making up a vaccine are all carefully tested to make sure that they’re safe for children…, What are the most common side effects that parents can expect?, The types of side effects that a child experiences from a vaccine are usually very minor, not enough to keep them home from school even. They’re things like a slight fever or redness or soreness around the injection site. And those are things that you can just manage at home. Those sorts of mild side effects resolve within 12 to 24 hours and they…, Why is it important to stick to the vaccine schedule?, It’s important to stick to the vaccine schedule because those schedules have been developed by scientists and experts who have looked at the best timing to receive a vaccine and what diseases a child is vulnerable to. In certain countries, for instance, some diseases are more common and so a child will receive those vaccines earlier in their life…