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Today's story comes from Bangladesh, where millions of children are caught up in child labor when their families can't afford to provide. Two years ago, Gautam's family couldn't afford more than two meals a day, to repair their home, or to send Gautam to school; now, Gautam sleeps well with a new roof and full belly, and goes to school. See how sponsorship helped keep him out of child labor!
A narrow walkway ran toward the Hindu Para in Bangladesh after surrounding an aged pond. The grubby water of the pond indicated what the environment of that community would be. Once I entered the area, the road became too narrow for two men to walk side by side, the mud houses pushing in from both sides. After walking for few minutes, I came to a small yard.
I found a little boy sitting silently under the veranda. He was barefoot, with a runny nose and almost naked. His face told me that he could no longer bear the agony of hunger. He seemed more mature than his actual age of five, as the playful movements of a child had disappeared from his activities because of poverty. He appeared annoyed at being an unfortunate child of a vulnerable family.
This is a pen picture of Gautam, when I met him at his house for the first time just two years ago. He is the son of Joyanti and Vombol, and his sister’s name is Janota.
Two years ago, these parents could not even think of sending Gautam to school. They did not feel the need for education. They thought it was a kind of luxury, as they did not even have the capacity to provide two meals each day for their children.
“We are too poor to send him school,” Gautam’s mother said. “If we get aid from World Vision, he would be educated.”
This same Gautam is now going to school after being sponsored by World Vision, in the Birol community.
The house where they lived before was not worthy to provide safety or comfort. The roof was made of rotten straw and the mud walls were in danger of falling down at any moment. The home was vulnerable to the whims of the weather; rainwater washed away their bed, in winter it could not protect them from the bitter cold, and in the summer they were burnt by the brutal sunbeams.
“What can I do, what I earn cannot even manage three meals for my family,” Vombol said at the time. “I can even save a TK [about 1 US cent] in a month. How can I think of renovating my house?”
But now Gautam can sleep soundly. Sweet dreams now knock at his door while he sleeps. World Vision assisted the family to repair the house, providing corrugated iron sheets for the roof.
Little Gautam can smile now; he loves to go school and play with his friends. He loves to draw pictures. He is happy as his parents feed him with rice, his favorite meal, during lunch and dinner.
Moreover, his parents can dream that Gautam will become an officer after completing his studies.
Our hope is that, like Gautam, all of the children of his community in Bangladesh will have sweet dreams. And we are committed to working together to make these dreams come true.
World Vision child sponsorship helps to provide children like Gautam with education and nutritious food, in addition to clean water, protection, healthcare, and other life-saving basics. Consider sponsoring a child in Bangladesh today!