Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Room to Read Bangladesh focuses on literacy and girls’ education where literacy rates are among the lowest in Southeast Asia. Our Literacy Program encourages fluency and informs national curriculum, while our Girls’ Education Program uses acting to help girls graduate and negotiate key decisions.


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Poverty, Child Labor Contribute to Dismal Literacy Rates

After a war of independence separated Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, natural disasters, famines, political turmoil, and military coups plagued the fledgling country. In 1991, despite economic advancements after the implementation of parliamentary democracy, challenges loom. Home to 159 million residents, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Poverty is in decline, but 31.5 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line and the country remains 142nd out of 179 countries on the Human Development Index. Many young children work to contribute to family incomes, which makes it difficult for them to attend school. In part due to this reality, Bangladesh has one of the lowest adult literacy rates in Southeast Asia.

Our Work in Bangladesh 2019 Bangladesh Annual Report

Our Work in Bangladesh

Room to Read initially focused on rural areas—particularly the sandbar islands of the Sirajganj District, the low-lying terrain of the Brahamanbaria District, and the remote plains of the Natore District. We have made great strides in these districts, and our strong relationships with the local communities have helped us support primary school students and girls battling long-standing cultural barriers.

In 2015, we expanded beyond rural areas and began our Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs within the city of Dhaka.

Urban Realities

Meet Shahin, a child from the urban slums who hopes to go to school.

Urban Realities
Urban Realities

>600

More than 600 schools across Bangladesh have partnered with Room to Read through our Literacy Program.

<1%

Less than 1% of girls supported by our Girls’ Education Program in Bangladesh dropped out of school in 2015

The Children of Cox's Bazar: Education Inside and Out of the Rohingya Refugee Camp

In 2017, 400,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar to escape genocide. Since then, one million Rohingya refugees have settled into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Nearly 500,000 of them are children and they – like all children – deserve access to quality education.

Watch our video to see how Room to Read is partnering with other organizations to bring education to the children of Cox's Bazar.

By the Numbers: Room to Read's Cox's Bazar Project with Rohingya Refugees

2,500 - learning centers visited in the refugee camp

4,000 - local teachers to be assessed

180,000 - Rohingya refugee children surveyed to understand their needs

Learn about our work with children outside the refugee camps
“We just want all children to have access to quality education. That's what drives us all the time.” Rakhi Sarkar Bangladesh Country Director

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