Bangladesh – Unsupported mothers find shelter in ‘Shishu Palli Plus’ care home in Gazipur 

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Location: Sreepur, Gazipur

Language: Bengali

Voice: Natural

Duration: 00:06:42

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 clients

Dateline: 25.01.2022

Storyline: 

Established in 1989, the “Shishu Polli Plus” complex provides vital support for single and unsupported mothers and their children. Stewardess-turned humanitarian activist Patricia Kerr, founder of the care home, said that the Shishu Polli Plus was established with the support of the British Airways to stop women from giving up their children to adoption because of financial issues or other hardships. Kerr added that the care home has helped keep families together. Rabeya Sultana, who is a teacher in the care home, said in addition to offering mothers and children a safe and loving environment, the Shishu Polli Plus complex also teaches both mothers and children how to be self-reliant, and how they can live on their own once they leave for their communities. The complex also trains mothers on agricultural skills, an agriculture expert said, adding that the village-structured complex has a school, a clinic, kitchens, deep and shallow tube-wells and ponds, to name a few. A mother in the house said there are rehabilitation programs for up to three years for the mothers, who earn their allowance working for the complex.

Shot list:

(SOUNDBITE) Patricia Kerr (Founder/Overseas Director), Shishu Palli Plus

“I first came to Bangladesh in 1981 as a crew member with the British Airways. All the crews were interested in some volunteer works in their off-time. We started working with the Canadian Orphanage Family for Children near a hotel in Dhaka. In that winter, BA offered an unpaid leave and I thought after 7-8 years living in different hotels in different parts of the world, it would be nice to live in a different culture. So I took leave and started to work as a volunteer. We were able to establish a stronger relationship with the people of Bangladesh with British Airways and then expanded overseas. At that time, projects like that was unusual. There was nothing like which is now-a-days called CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. We also had some media interest and made some documentaries. We noticed mothers giving their children to the orphanage. But they were upset as they were not taking care of their children. They wanted to be with their children but they couldn’t. So when we raised money and build this place, we started keeping mothers with their children.”

(SOUNDBITE) Rabeya Sultana, School Teacher, Shishu Palli Plus

“We mainly focus on what we think will be good for them. Our own children in the family usually get what they want. Maybe these children also getting as long as they are here, but after leaving from here how will they survive, we teach them how to be self-dependent.”

(SOUNDBITE) Hasibur Rahman, Agriculture Officer – Shishu Palli Plus

“We mainly provide agricultural training to the mothers who are staying here. We teach them how they could be self-dependent through taking agricultural projects in the surroundings of their homes after going back from here. We build them as self-dependent through the training.”

(SOUNDBITE) Mohammad Isamuddin, Instructor of the Tailoring Section in Shishu Palli Plus

“Here we give training to the mothers twice a year every six months. Through these training, we want to teach them all tailoring related issues as after going back home they can survive independently.”

(SOUNDBITE) A mother who is learning skills in Handloom section in Shishu Palli Plus

“I’m from Kurigram. I’m here with my son. He was a first grader before we got here. I admitted him here in the 2nd grade. Now he is a 5th grader. I’m taking training on Boutique as after going back home, I can be self-dependent.”

(SOUNDBITE) Joy Banik, Senior Social Worker who works to recruit mothers along with the children from all over the country for Shishu Palli Plus

“We mainly target mothers who are widowed, divorced, or those whose husbands have not any trace for many days, whose husbands are disabled and cannot support their family, as well as unmarried mothers who delivered unwanted children. All of them can take services from SPP along with their children.”

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