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434.Integrated Community Development Project in the CHT under the Ministry of CHT Affairs funded by UNICEF covers basic services in 2,220 Para (community) Centres, PC at village level serving catchments of 25-30 families. The PCs were managed by a Para worker, a locally recruited person (95% women). Activities related to health and nutrition, early learning or school preparedness, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion were supported by the Para worker. Immunization coverage in the PC was reported to be as high as 95% whilst the use of iodized salt was noted to be 100%. Vitamin A supplementation was provided to 17,500 post partum women. Early learning and school readiness education is provided to about 40,000 children annually in the PCs. Many of these children have enrolled in primary schools upon graduation from the PC schools.

Other minority communities

435.There are some small groups of disadvantaged poor people. They are commonly isolated from mainland and or mainstream people. These groups include: people living in the areas of coast line, haor/baor/beels (big water bodies), fishing boats, char lands (small river island), and gypsy people (bedes), bawalies (those who live on the resources of the Sundarbans forest areas), methor and dalit (sweeper) and tea garden workers. The socioeconomic conditions of these groups of people are not much known as very little surveys or studies have been conducted. Recently media has started giving coverage on them reflecting their marginalized and isolated conditions. The Divisional Consultations organized for the purpose of this Report also endorsed their isolation.

436.The Government with assistance of development partners is increasingly undertaking new initiatives and programmes for development of people living in the remote and inaccessible areas. Studies are being conducted to identify the reasons and magnitudes of problems in specific areas. Based on the studies new area specific programmes such as DFID assisted Char Livelihood Project has been undertaken. Government has also intensified ongoing initiatives of poverty alleviation such as micro credit and safety net programmes in these areas.

F.  Children living or working on the street

437.A significant portion of disadvantaged children live on the streets on account of acute impoverishment and social deprivation. Often separated from their families, many of these children migrate to the cities in search of a livelihood. Their work may range from street vending, rag picking, metal work, transport worker, dealing in drugs and contraband items to sex work. Deprived of their basic rights to health, food, education, street children are particularly susceptible to adult abuse, exploitation and manipulation.

438.Making an estimate of the number of street children is a difficult proposition. The population census, labour force survey and the national child labour survey do not cover the street children as a separate group. A BIDS survey found the total number of street children in 6 Divisional cities and 5 district town as l 429,813 (Table 8.5).

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