Stories from change-makers in Bangladesh

Sabuka Sazeda Sohagi
Girl carrying wood
Sabuka, 18
Sabuka arrived in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, in 2018, when she was just 13 years old.
Her mother was killed as they made the journey from Myanmar, leaving her in the care of her aunt. “I don’t like anything here. I want to go back to my own country,” Sabuka said.

Life is extremely difficult in the refugee camp, especially for adolescent girls. One of the biggest worries is staying warm when the temperatures drop.

Sabuka collects firewood every few days, making the three-hour walk each way. She goes with a group of girls around her age for safety. But she’s still scared. And she has good reason to be.

“I am scared of the men, that’s why we all go together,” she said. “Nothing has happened to us yet because we stick together. I cut the wood myself and carry it back with me.”

Plan has been working in Cox’s Bazar for years now — building toilets, protecting girls from violence and exploitation, providing education and much more. Refugee girls like Sabuka are vulnerable, but they’re also tough. With the right support, they can still build a better future.
Learn more about our humanitarian response work
Plan girl in Bangladesh
Sazeda has been an activist since she was 10 years old.
As a member of Plan youth groups, she fights child marriage — and even stopped her own.

Child marriage is a complex issue in Bangladesh — there are social, cultural and economic forces at play. But Sazeda learned about the dangers of marrying too young. When her parents said she would have a wedding soon, she stood her ground. She was able to convince them that her education was more important.

Sazeda didn’t stop there. She continued to advocate for young people in her community. The Plan youth group fights exploitation, stops child marriages, returns students to school and reports cases of abuse.

"We organize workshops to draw attention to youth problems,” she said. “We also discuss issues with village leaders and government organizations."

As a youth leader, Sazeda represents children and adolescents like her at local and even national meetings. Her message: Support children, don’t silence them.

"My goal is to create a better environment for all children,” she said. “More attention needs to be paid to the protection of children. They also need to have a voice and think about important topics. All children deserve a chance to change something."
Protect girls today
Plan sponsored girl in Bangladesh
Sohagi is fighting so her city — and girls like her — will survive.
Dhaka is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, but it can’t accommodate its exploding population, so many people are forced to live in slums. That’s where Sohagi lives.

Sohagi’s slum is surrounded by a man-made, polluted lake, and the entire area floods with dirty water when monsoon season arrives. And things are getting worse because of climate change.

“The monsoon season comes every year, but it’s falling earlier, lasts longer and is more unpredictable,” said Sohagi. “Our community is getting waterlogged, sometimes for weeks.”

Who is the hardest hit when it comes to effects from climate change? It’s girls.

Climate change can mean a shortage of food, and often girls are the ones who go hungry. And if their parents pull them out of school to help find food and water, girls are more likely to never return to the classroom. Climate change causes more poverty, which means more girls have to start working early or get married too young.

Sohagi is determined to create change. She’s a youth advocate with Plan, and has been involved in several projects aimed at improving conditions in the slums.

“We, the next generation, are part of the solution,” Sohagi said. “The future depends on us. Let’s get to work - for us, for Dhaka, for the planet.”
Read more about our youth advocacy

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Bangladesh since 1994.

Our work in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Country Stats
Offices & operations

Plan’s country office is located in Dhaka, with program unit offices in Barishal, Cox’s Bazar and Rangpur. Plan operates in all 64 districts in Bangladesh.

Technical areas

Plan Bangladesh focuses on the following program areas: health, education, child protection, disaster risk management, youth agency, gender equality and skills and work.

Number of sponsored children

As of June 2022, people like you sponsor 28,214 children in Bangladesh through Plan International.

Our projects in Bangladesh

Why Sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

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But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

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Send them birthday gifts and cards.

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Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

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Arrange a visit (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

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