They say they can return to school if adequate measures are taken to ensure their safety
A group of children themselves have spoken to officials at the administrative level about the situation of child rights amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
They have mentioned the overall situation of children, health and education, protection, family and social rights, including ways to overcome problems and difficulties specific to this pandemic.
At the conference room of the Dhaka Deputy Commissioner's (DC) Office on Johnson Road in the capital city, 20 children from the Children's Forum of ‘Shishuder Jonno’ living in Rayerbazar and Chand Udyan areas talked to DC Mohammad Shahidul Islam for about two hours on Sunday about the problems of disadvantaged children in the area and the capital.
The meeting was organized under the auspices of Save the Children in Bangladesh's project ‘Shishuder Jonno' (SJ) and Manabik Shahajya Shangstha (MSS), said Save the Children in Bangladesh in a media statement.
According to the children present there, the educational institutions have been closed for nine months and the children are turning away from formal education.
They believe that children can return to school if adequate measures are taken to ensure all safety, said the statement.
Classes on modern devices using the Internet are expensive enough to carry for disadvantaged children, even for many schools, which will increase the number of children dropping out of school.
The issue of auto-promotion in HSC also came up.
The children mentioned that the merit of the students was not properly assessed as a result of giving auto pass.
They fear that child marriage has also increased in this pandemic situation.
In the Chand Udyan area of Rayerbazar, children have been used in drug trafficking for a long time, which is still happening.
The children have urged to the government about cracking down on the drugs.
Parents are losing their jobs due to the pandemic and sending their children to work, which has resulted in an increase in child labour.
According to them, more than 17 child marriages have taken place in the area during Covid-19, out of which seven have been stopped through children's forums.
The children recommended that government hotlines be made stronger and more effective.
Most of the playgrounds in the capital are used for construction work and even the playgrounds which are empty are not suitable for playing most of the time.
The children requested the deputy commissioner to pay special attention to this.
The DC mentioned that the discussions with the children have been very fruitful in overcoming and resolving the problems that have arisen during the pandemic.
He promised to provide assistance to disadvantaged children. He thinks it is important to convey the current reality to other quarters of the government for which advocacy has to be done, lobbyists have to be appointed.
"I will definitely work to ensure that children's recommendations are included in government policies," he said.
Fatema Johra, deputy director at the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, Rashida Begum, the district children's affairs officer at Shishu Academy, and Abu Jafar from Save the Children in Bangladesh were also present during the meeting.