The Fine & Country Foundation runs ongoing projects throughout the year, one of which is the Happy Homes project in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We provide a monthly donation enabling the Lalbagh Happy Home for vulnerable girls to maintain its incredible work and support for thirty formally homeless girls. Our work with the ActionAid scheme has led to thirty girls having a safe and secure place to live, as well as schooling, health check-ups and wellbeing and development activities.
In January 2016 Sean Newman, Director of Fine & Country Warwickshire and West Midlands, was joined by two teammates to embark on the Rickshaw Challenge across India. They hopped in a Tuk Tuk and travelled 3,000 across the country raising a phenomenal £33,000 for Lalbadh Happy Home.
The project has four key objectives which are monitored and evaluated to ensure full accountability, transparency and progress.
Objective 1: safe shelter
The first step is to identify the vulnerable girls who are living on the streets and at high risk, built trusting relationships with them and introduce them to the Happy Home where they are warmly welcomed. They are given three meals a day and have capable staff to care for them day and night.
There are two types of girls who use the Happy Home service; those that stay there and those who access the home during the daytime. At the home all girls are given a place to eat and rest, washroom facilities and a place for recreation.
Objective 2: improving health and wellbeing
All the girls receive regular healthcare check-ups, involving vaccinations and blood tests. Physical health is one part of maintaining their wellbeing; psychological support and behavioural wellbeing is the second element of their basic needs.
A counsellor conducts regular sessions with the girls once a week in group sessions to provide them with a platform to share feelings, problems and challenges. Sessions cover useful topics such as building confidence, motivation, why bullying is harmful and how to manage stress. The girls are encouraged to approach the counsellor for individual sessions when they require.
Weekly wellness sessions cover everyday topics from personal hygiene to puberty, as well as challenging subjects like child and women’s rights and violence against women. The girls are encouraged to approach their teachers, counsellors or other adults to deal with any issues affecting them.
Objective 3: educational and recreational opportunities
All girls are enrolled and attend school. Teachers and staff in the home are in regular contact to monitor progress or any issues and often attend PTA meetings to know how the girls are doing.
Beyond education, the girls engage in other activities and entertainment. Drawing, playing and singing lessons are particularly popular. School sports and cultural events are a highlight so an annual picnic is organised to bring together the 150 from other nearby Happy Homes. The girls take part in events celebrating Child Rights Week, Independence Day and the first day of spring. Finally, they help to prepare special dishes and feasts for religious festivals which bring everyone together.
Objective 4: develop skills that help them generate income and self-sufficiency
Girls receive training from different organisations, NGOs and government schemes. Some of the girls attended a six-month course taught by the agricultural council. Professionals and influential people visit Lalbadh Happy Home to inspire them and give the girls an opportunity to learn about different professions they might want to pursue when they are older.
We are thrilled to see such incredible progress being made at the school and we will continue to support the 30 girls in Lalbagh Happy Home.
For further information about our international projects or how to help please contact us here or call us on +44(0)20 3368 8221.
To make a contribution to this project, or one of our other schemes please click here for more details.
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