Plan Canada launches community sponsorship program to help lift an
entire village out of poverty
CALGARY, May 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Plan Canada is launching an innovative sponsorship project in Calgary to support the community of Hatibandha, Bangladesh. Located
in one of the poorest regions of the world, Hatibandha is a village
where 44 per cent of people earn less than $1 a day. In Hatibandha,
families, and particularly young girls, face severe challenges and
barriers to basic health, education, and income opportunities. With the
reputation of being tenacious, hardworking, and generous to their
community, Calgarians are well-suited to help the community of
Hatibandha begin its journey out of poverty.
Plan Canada's community sponsorship program will help young girls like 13 year-old Shohagi who lives with her parents and three younger siblings in a small house
made of tin and straw. Shohagi is in grade four, and a good student,
but like most young girls in her community, she won't be in school for
much longer. Priority for education will be given to her brothers since
money is tight and travel to school becomes too dangerous for a young
girl. Shohagi will stay at home where she may face an all too common
occurrence of child marriage. With support from Calgarians, this
program aims to break that cycle for young girls like Shohagi.
"Generational poverty is difficult to change in places like Hatibandha,
but with the support of Calgarians we can help make it happen," says
Dr. Tanjina Mirza, Vice President of International Programs at Plan
Canada. "This sponsorship program will enable real and comprehensive
solutions to address multiple barriers and challenges in the community,
meaning girls and their families will have better access to clean
water, health care, basic education, and income-generating
Olympic Gold Medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Calgary Stampeder, Jon
Cornish, are proudly stepping forward to help create awareness of this
sponsorship project and encourage their fellow Calgarians to join them
in changing the lives of children and their families in Hatibandha.
"I am so proud and honoured to be partnering with Plan Canada in the
launch of its community sponsorship project in Bangladesh," said
Canadian Olympic Champion Hayley Wickenheiser. "As the first female
professional hockey player, I understand how important it is to address
barriers and challenges that hinder or prevent girls and women from
pursuing their passions and talents. This project is going to provide
young girls in Bangladesh with opportunities to build a bright future
for themselves and for their families and communities."
"I couldn't be more excited and proud to be partnering with Plan Canada
in the launch of this community sponsorship project in Bangladesh,"
said Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish. "I believe this
project is going to give young girls in Bangladesh the tools they need
to succeed, like an education, so they can claim a better future for
themselves and their communities."
Two-thirds of children do not complete elementary school. This community sponsorship program will help children by training
teachers and providing the necessary school supplies to learn. In
developing countries, a lack of girls-only bathrooms is one of the main
reasons girls don't attend school. To that end, the program will also
look to set up girls' dorms and separate and private girls' latrines in
Infant and maternal mortality rates are high, as women do not receive
proper obstetric care. This program will address this challenge by rehabilitating health
clinics, securing medicine and equipment, and training local staff and
volunteers to deliver obstetric care, including family planning,
pregnancy support, and nutrition.
The vast majority of girls will drop out of elementary school and marry
before the age of 18. These girls have little chance to become independent women who can
support themselves and their families. This program will provide
education for girls, reducing drop-out rates, raising awareness of
gender equality and ultimately changing social attitudes and practices.
For $37 a month, Calgarians can help develop sustainable, community-led
programs that will improve the quality of life for children,
specifically girls, and their families in Hatibandha. While the program
will directly impact as many as 8,900 people in Hatibandha, it will
also complement and support Plan's ongoing and broader programs in
Bangladesh, including Plan's Women and Their Children's Health (WATCH)
initiatives, that are reaching millions of people.
For more information on the community of Hatibandha and how to get
involved and donate to Community Sponsorship, Calgarians can visit www.plancanada.ca/Calgaryhelps.
About Plan Canada Community Sponsorship
Plan Canada's Community Sponsorship program helps communities develop
the tools and learn the skills to be self-sufficient in order to give
their children a better future. Donors are supporting community-based,
comprehensive solutions including gender equality, clean water,
accessible health care, basic education and microfinance opportunities
within a specific community. Plan focuses on communities in greatest
need to reach as many people as possible.
About Plan and the 'Because I am a Girl' initiative
Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world's oldest and largest
international development agencies, working in partnership with
millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for
profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has
only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan's global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls'
rights and lift millions of girls - and everyone around them - out of
poverty. Visit www.plancanada.ca and www.becauseiamagirl.ca for more information.
SOURCE: Plan Canada
For further information:
For media inquiries, contact:
Abigail Brown, Media and Public Relations Manager, Plan Canada
T: 416 920 1654 ext 277 | C: 647 971 3764 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie Torres, Media Relations Specialist, Plan Canada
T: 416 920 1654 ext 244 | email@example.com