Jyoti Gomes: Giving Street Children Hope for Life in Bangladesh

The capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka, is the destination chosen by three out of four orphaned or abandoned children in the country, a population group estimated at around 1.5 million. This internal displacement of children has several causes including extreme rural poverty, family crises, natural disasters and as of late the impact of climate change.

Needless to say, these children are at risk, explains Caritas Bangladesh regional director Mr. Jyoti Gomes, who is participating in the 2-3 December meeting of the ICMC Asia-Oceania working group in Bangkok, Thailand. Caritas Bangladesh is a member of the International Catholic Migration Commission.

To survive, street children may engage in dangerous activities from begging to snatching to prostitution, among others. They lack access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, healthcare and education. They are highly vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.

Caritas Bangladesh reaches out to them through small groups and operates drop-in centers with basic services, including non-formal education, psychosocial support and voluntary HIV counseling and testing. Children above 14 years old get skills training in trades such as tailoring and the possibility of linking with potential employers.

Children also get help to find their families and reunite with them. A safe night shelter for vulnerable street girls is also available. And advocacy before law enforcement authorities seeks to reduce harassment.

Among the challenges, Mr. Gomes mentions the lack of birth registration, which is a barrier to enrolling in school, and the increasing numbers of street children.

You can help refugees and migrants rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.


ICMC provides assistance and protection to vulnerable people on the move and advocates for sustainable solutions for refugees and migrants.