Street children have saved up to Tk50 lakh in their bank accounts in three years, the central bank said.
As of September 30, around 4,671 street children have opened bank accounts, according to a report by Bangladesh Bank.
The bank accounts, opened in 19 banks, now collectively hold over Tk46.9 lakh as of September.
According to the report, the children saved around Tk20.4 lakh in various banks between July and September. Previously as of June 30, their deposits amounted to Tk26.5 lakh.
Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Subhankar Saha said: "Bangladesh Bank took an initiative to inspire street children to save money in banks. As part of a 2014 project, banks were instructed to open accounts for these children so that they could save and safeguard their money.”
In March 2014, the then governor of Bangladesh Bank Atiur Rahman instructed commercial banks to open bank accounts for street children in exchange for Tk10. Within just three years from when the initiative was introduced, the children have managed to save up to Tk50 lakh.
15 non-government organizations (NGOs), approved by the Bangladesh Bank, are monitoring the children’s bank accounts since most of them do not have any guardian.
The NGOs are: MSSUS, SUF, Uddipan, Aparajeyo Bangladesh, Brac, Nari Maitree, CPD, Prodipon, Sazida Foundation, ASD, Shakti Bidyalaya, EBCR Project, AID Bangladesh, Society for Unprivileged Family, and Poriborton.
Bangladesh Bank says 946 street children have opened bank accounts in the past nine months. The accounts numbered just 725 when the year 2016 ended.
By September 30, the number skyrocketed to 4,671.
Pointing out how the street children had been kept out of the banking system previously, Atiur Rahman expressed his happiness about the children who now have their own savings.
He said: “The children on our streets, who are estranged by the society, are now able to save for their future. This is very good news. They have collectively saved around Tk50 lakh. In the future, they will be able to own this amount individually. They too deserve the same treatment as the rest of us.”
According to the central bank data, most of their accounts were opened by the state-owned Rupali Bank. As of September, the bank opened 1,029 accounts for the children, and deposited around Tk9.78 lakh.
The second-highest 765 accounts were opened by the privately-owned Social Islami Bank where the children have deposited Tk2.27 lakh.
The privately-owned Pubali Bank has secured the third spot in the list of banks providing service to street children by opening 544 accounts where Tk3 lakh was deposited.
Earlier in 2014, 10 banks primarily took the responsibility of opening bank accounts for street children. Later, nine more banks followed suit.
The banks part of the initiative are: Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Janata Bank, Rupali Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, NCC Bank, One Bank, Pubali Bank, The City Bank, Al Arafah Islami Bank, Trust Bank, Social Islami Bank, Uttara Bank, and Prime Bank.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune