Two years ago, as we began working in the community of Hatibandha, Bangladesh, we met a 9 year-old girl named Lipi. She wasn’t like most 9-year-old girls. That’s because Lipi was growing up in the shadow of some exceptionally daunting facts, like how 90% of girls in Hatibandha are married by the age of 18. Or that only 7% of secondary students are girls.
If the facts don’t already say it, we will: being a girl in Hatibandha was not easy. But things are changing in this community, and you can see the positive change in girls like Lipi.
Flash forward two years
Today, Lipi is 11 years old and happier than ever. Thanks to your support, she has seen a shift in thinking among Hatibandha’s residents. It’s a change that will make all the difference to Lipi, her sisters and other young children in the community.
“There is a notable change with increased awareness on children’s education among the community, as well as parents,” she explained. “I feel comforted that my father has agreed to continue my higher education.”
Lipi’s father can now appreciate how important it is to educate his 4 daughters and help them grow up as young women, not as young brides.
“Plan teaches us not only to take care of our children, especially girls, but also the consequences of child marriage,” he explained. Like so many others, he believes Plan’s been the driving force behind the positive change he sees in his community. Two years ago, Hatibandha was dominated by men. But today, children like his daughter Lipi are “growing up in an enabling environment,” he explained. “We are passing our life with joy and happiness.”
Forward thinking has everyone looking to a brighter future
For Lipi, this means her dream of higher education will be achieved. Your support has helped education become more accessible to vulnerable children across Hatibandha – children just like Lipi.
“School is my favourite place and I go regularly,” she said. “I have passed my annual examination successfully and my parents and teachers appreciate my good results.”
Lipi’s grades have rubbed off on her younger sister, Rina, who wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps and continue with her education. Seeing this drive in Rina has Lipi reaching out to others in her community. She’s become a natural leader, volunteering her time to help run Plan-supported events that raise awareness on the dangers associated with child marriage.
When we first met her, Lipi said she wanted to be a teacher so she could “educate the poor and underprivileged children” in her community. Perhaps two years ago, that dream would have been just that – a dream. But today, it feels like Lipi is on her way to achieving her dream.
You can help children like Lipi realize their full potential by supporting Community Sponsorship.