Interview of the National Director- SOS Bangladesh on 40-years celebration

Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Ishaque, National Director of SOS Children's Village International in Bangladesh has given an interview for some Promoting and Supporting Associations of SOS Children's Villages International on the occasion of celebration of glorious 40 years (1972-2012) of SOS Bangladesh which is as follows:

Q. What is the situation of children in Bangladesh today? What economic or social factors affect them the most?

ND: There are over sixty million children in Bangladesh. Although Bangladesh has a stable and growing economy, half of these children continue to live below the international poverty line. All children have rights, yet children in Bangladesh face a range of difficult issues that hamper their survival and development and prevent the full realisation of their rights. Children are facing challenges on protection, health and education. Q. What do you think SOS Bangladesh has accomplished in the past 40 years?

ND: During last 40 years, SOS Bangladesh has taken total care of the children who lost their parental care by providing them a loving home at SOS Children’s Villages, providing them possible education and training for their effective integration into the society.

During the last 40 years around 836 children from SOS Children’s Villages have been integrated into society and living on their own income, around 112,200 beneficiaries have been benefited through our Family Strengthening Programme, around 9,000 children have received quality education through our SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools/Colleges, around 2,000 youths have received vocational training through our SOS Vocational Training Centres.

Q. How have the children who left SOS Bangladesh fared in life? Please provide an overview.

ND: Majority of our integrated youths who left SOS facilities have been living in the society on their own income with dignity according to their capabilities. Some of them are also facing hardship maintaining their lives due to unemployment.

Q. What challenges do the youth of SOS Bangladesh face today? What steps do you plan to take to ensure successful integration

ND: The youth of SOS Bangladesh face challenges to find suitable employment after completing their education.

Our first priority is the ‘education of our children’. We are preparing our children for todays world by providing them need based education and training. We ensure the successful integration of our children into the society as decent human being.

Q. The role of the mother is crucial in the SOS family setup. How difficult is it today to get mothers for SOS children in Bangladesh? What are the challenges that mothers face while working with SOS families?

ND: Now-a-days it is really challenging for us to get suitable SOS Mothers for SOS Children’s Villages in Bangladesh.

Mothers face different challenges while working with SOS families. Such as:

• Less educated Mothers find difficulties to provide necessary support to the children for their academic development

• Sometimes Mothers also face challenges with the number of children (10-12 ) in the SOS family houses

• Sometimes SOS Mothers are influenced by their relatives to dis-continue such works where they have to engage themselves 24 hours duties

Q. What are your visions for SOS Bangladesh in the next five years?

ND: Our vision for the next 5 (five) years are as follows:

• Prepare our children to cope with the present world

• Quality integration of our children into the society

• Make partnership with GO and NGOs/INGOs to overcome our future challenges

• Strengthening Advocacy work

• Establishment of 2 (two) new SOS Children’s Villages in Bangladesh
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