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Help solve a global crisis with a creche

Picture the scene: You’re the breadwinner for your family – they rely on you to survive – and it’s time to go to work. Your home, and every home in the village, is surrounded by open ponds and deep rivers which are always flooding.

A creche in Bangladesh

Photo: Angela Robson

If you can’t get to your job, your family will go hungry – but there is no childcare to protect or supervise your children while you’re gone. 

Your daughters and sons are young, they can’t swim and they are vulnerable around the water/

So, what do you do?  

This impossible choice is a reality for many families in the world’s poorest countries – where many of the 360,000 annual drowning deaths are accounted for by young people.

In Bangladesh, drowning claims the lives of around 40 children every day with most dying within 20m of their home. They are never more than a few steps from open water. 

This is needless. It is preventable. Yet drowning is the still the biggest cause of death for children, ahead of disease and malnutrition.

There is a way we can help.

The small project making a big difference 

At the RNLI, we’re committed to ending global drowning. That’s why, with match-funding from the UK government, we are raising vital funds to support the community-run creche project in Bangladesh. All donations made from the 4 February to 28 April 2019 will be doubled by the UK government. 

Anchals (meaning ‘parent protecting a child’ in Bengali) are community-based creche facilities run by local families. They are set up to supervise young children from 9am–1pm, the crucial hours when parents need to work to support their families.

While children are in Anchals, they receive help with their early learning development. They practise how to play together safely and learn crucial life skills.

Two young parents, who have experienced life before and after the Anchals project, share their experiences of how the facilities make a lifesaving difference.

‘I still cannot properly express my feelings about his loss’

Honufa and her two daughters

Photo: Angela Robson

Honufa and her two daughters

Honufa, 26, is from Betagu Pouroshovar village in Barisal, Bangladesh. In 2015, she lost her 5-year old son Siam to the river.  

‘It was around 11 in the morning,’ Honufa describes. ‘My son and some other children were playing near the water – the river was flooded at the time. The children began swimming but it was only my son, who couldn’t swim, who could not get out. 

‘We took my son to the hospital but the doctor said that he was no more. I still cannot properly express my feelings about his loss. 

‘He was a very good boy, calm and patient and he always listened to his mother. At that time, there was no Anchals and no awareness about drowning or water safety. That was bad for everyone.

‘I have two daughters now. I tried for another son but eventually God gave me another daughter, the year after his death.’

‘We thank god for the Anchals – I know my son is safe’

Parvin, in Bangladesh, with two of her children

Photo: Angela Robson

Parvin with two of her children

Parvin, 30, is from the same village as Honufa. She had four children until she lost her only daughter to the open water outside her family home.

Since the village began running Anchals, she has great assurance that her sons are safe from the same heartbreak.  

'I had so wanted a daughter. After two sons, my daughter was born,’ Parvin says.

'On the day of the accident, my eldest son had gone missing. He could not swim, so the whole family went to look for him. We found him but when we returned home, we discovered my daughter in the pond in front of the house.  

'We talk about her all the time. She was good and kind.'

'It is not an easy life. There are so many rivers and ponds here. The river banks are constantly being washed away by the tide. The rainy seasons are getting longer and harder and the summer seasons are hotter.'

‘This type of weather makes our children more vulnerable to drowning.  Even the ones who can swim. 

‘We thank God for the Anchals, which are now in our village. My youngest son goes there and I know he is safe.’ 

How you can support 

How will your donation help? It helps to fund childcare that could save a life. It helps give a child a safe place to learn and play in a country where drowning is an everyday risk. It helps to provide a sustainable, community-led facility that boosts childhood development.

Just £30 could pay for a whole year of childcare for one child. £170 is enough to pay for the set up and equipment needed for a creche. And £835 could fund the entire annual running cost of a creche.

Any donation you can give, large or small, will help fund daycare places for Bangladeshi children and protect them from the everyday risks of drowning. So you can be confident that your support is really making a difference. 

We hope you will join us and be part of a simple, effective solution to help end global drowning – and help more families like Honufa and Parvin’s