The Children’s Uplift Programme (‘CUP’) is part of SIM’s work in Mirpur, Bangladesh. This is an extremely poor country with 50% of its population living in poverty. CUP is working with street children to provide a safe place for those children living and working on the streets, especially young girls.
The Children’s Uplift Programme (CUP) began in March 2008 to meet the needs of children who live and work on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The initial six month research stage found that girls are in particular need of services and support because they are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation than their male peers. CUP, therefore, made the decision to concentrate on working with girls in street situations. However, as they began to build relationships with homeless girls, they discovered that there are many young homeless mothers who receive little support. It was felt that working with these women and teenagers was essential and the most effective way of ensuring the well-being of their young children.
CUP’s vision is to see children and mothers who have been in street situations independent, living in society, helping each other, understanding God’s love, and developing holistically.
A drop-in centre was opened in 2009 to provide a place where children and mothers could wash, rest and receive first aid. CUP began a training programme for mothers in 2010 to prepare them for employment and CUP opened a night shelter in the same year.
CUP’s Current Work and Plans
Outreach involves street-based intervention such as building up relationships, health advice, taking mothers and children to clinics and referring them to other services when appropriate.
- Alternative Employment
The majority of CUP’s mothers survive/ survived by selling sex or begging for money and their children are at high risk of doing the same. CUP runs a training programme that mothers with young children are able to be part of for up to two years. The training programme includes literacy classes, teaching in life skills, parenting and values, emotional support and vocational skills. Each participant receives a payment that enables them to leave the streets and rent a home. CUP has partnered with the business Basha Ltd. to provide employment for the graduates of the training programme.
- A safe place to rest, wash, and eat
Children and mothers are able to rest and wash at the CUP’s drop in centre. Children, heavily pregnant homeless mothers and mothers on the training program are given a free meal.
- Emotional support
CUP builds up positive, consistent and trusting relationships with children and mothers. Through these relationships and spending time talking through life experiences CUP provides emotional support.
CUP runs a small play group for children under five years old, encourages older children to attend local educational facilities and holds non-formal reading and writing classes for mothers. Additionally CUP provides a nursery for the babies of those mothers on the training program.
CUP informs service users of the health services in the area, provides medicines and takes them to clinics when necessary. At the drop in centre CUP provides health teaching and first aid.
- Night shelter
CUP runs an emergency night shelter for mothers in crisis situations and four to six girls at high risk of sexual exploitation.
- For the children and mothers with whom we work.
- For CUP staff—that we would truly be able to help those with whom we work.
You can read more updates from CUP here
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