The first days are over: after a long journey we were welcomed very warm-heartedly by the LEEDO family! The first few days we spent getting to know LEEDOs work and evaluating where we might start to work.
Finally our project has started! Our flight took us from Germany via London to New Dehli, where we spent a night before flying on to Bangladesh. At the airport Rana, a LEEDO staff member, welcomed us with a big smile, a even bigger sign and flowers for all of us.
Dhaka: a never-ending traffic jam
The drive from the airport to the office was a first taste of what the traffic is this major city is like. Trucks, cars, numerous rikshaws and pedestrians share the roads and traffic rules don’t seem to exist. But after a couple of hours we made it across the city to the office which is located in a calmer part of Dhaka just outside the city.
Sleeping in the office
LEEDO has organised for us to live in the office during our stay. It’s a small flat with three rooms where the staff works and we will sleep during our stay. The following morning we met Forhad, the founder and executive director of LEEDO. In our first meeting we planned out the next couple of days for us to visit the different sights where LEEDO supports street children.
Rescuing children from the streets of Dhaka
LEEDO helps children that live on the streets of Dhaka. Many have either lost their parents or are sent from remote areas to the capital to earn money. The children are exposed to all the dangers a major city offers. Next to drug abuse and violence, girls are often exploited to sexual violence. LEEDO tries to rescue these often very young children from the streets.
The Peace Home
Not far from the office is the ‘Peace Home’ where 52 children have found their new home. LEEDO runs this orphanage for children that cannot be reunited with their families. Almost half of the children suffer from a disability. Both mental and physically disabled children are looked after by the “Ma’s” and “Babas” – the LEEDO staff. Playing with the children will give us the opportunity to recover from a long day in the office.
But first it’s out to the fields to get a good understanding of the work LEEDO does with the street children of Dhaka. This will be the foundation for the work we will do in the next couple of weeks.