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'I want fresh air, fresh world'

By Golam Rosul

DHAKA, Dec 6, 2017 (BSS)-"I grew up at a brothel. I never found peace and happiness there. My mother had little time to care me as she used to remain busy with all the time with her customers. I never feel that I'm happy with my mother. I just want fresh air and fresh world to live."

Those words came from Sumi (not real name), a daughter of a prostitute of Tangail brothel. Sumi is now studying class nine and residing at Sonar Bangla Children Home in Tangail.

While talking to this correspondent, Sumi in tears said, "I never find love and affection from my mother. Till today I don't know who is my father. I have been deprived of all kinds of love and care from my family."

"But now, I am studying here, playing with my friends, participating various sports and cultural events. I'm trying myself grooming me as a good citizen with the help of this hostel authority," she said.

Sumi said when she was eight years old, Sonar Bangla Children Home brought her from the brothel just before some days when she was scheduled to go in bed with customers like her mother.

She described the dark story of the brothel and thanked Sonar Bangla Children Home authority as they picked her at the right time from the brothel. This is not a story of Sumi alone. The same tale is shared by 84 children of prostitutes at this hostel.

Sonar Bangla Children Home, has become a hub of dream for the children of sex workers, is running a substantial and commendable effort of Society for Social Service (SSS) and Netherlands-based development organization Terre des Hommes with a fund of the European Union under Combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CCSEC) Project.

Established in 1999, Sonar Bangla Children Home stands on 9.5 acres of land. In 2001, a two-storied building was founded with support of Terre des Hommes Netherlands. The home authority with the direct supervision of SSS, is making efforts in various productive works including fisheries, poultry and cattle farming, vermin-composting and different agro-farming.

Currently, 84 children reside in this home while 42 girls and 42 boys are receiving formal education in different classes of schools, colleges at Mogra union in Tangail District.

Till now, 366 children have got admitted here. Some of them are studying at different universities as well. Of them, 14 have been successfully rehabilitated and rest of them (excluding 84 children) have been dropped out.

A Karate group of the hostel has already bagged a good number of awards home and abroad. The group took part Mt Everest Open International Karate Championship in Nepal and won gold and bronze medals.

Kaniz Rabeya, a residential teacher of Sonar Bangla Children Home added, every child of the home lives happily and they are much dreamful and confident about their future. "We want to make them forget the dark and stigmatized stories of their mothers."