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Ismat and Salman lives in a slum in Dhaka lare working hard to ensure nutrition for their childrenIsmat and Salman lives in a slum in Dhaka lare working hard to ensure nutrition for their children

Help slum and pavement dwellers in Dhaka build sustainable livelihoods

Single donation

You can help Dhaka’s slum and pavement dwellers lift themselves out of extreme poverty for good.

Around 52 million people live in Bangladesh’s cities and 18.5 million of these live in slums. In overcrowded and largely unplanned and unregulated Dhaka, a growing underclass, including the Dalit community, experiences extreme and growing poverty, surging homelessness, rising malnutrition and a complete absence of health care.

These pavement and slum-dwellers have no ID, no access to basic services, and are vulnerable to eviction and all forms of violence. Families survive on whatever they can earn from insecure jobs. There is no safety net.

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We believe that developing secure and diversified livelihoods is the most effective way these Dhaka families can sustainably lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

However, people surviving in such extreme urban poverty face a multitude of interconnected challenges and conventional livelihood programmes simply cannot meet their complex needs. That's why Concern developed Graduation, a sequenced package of support modified to people's circumstances.  These are the core components:

Core components of our programme
Core components of our programme
Core components of our programme
Core components of our programme

Meet Jibunessa

Jibunnesa used to work in people's houses in Dhaka.

Then she took part in a Concern Graduation programme and learned how to set up and slowly build her vegetable-selling business ꟷ starting with very little capital. Her small enterprise is now thriving. In the future, she intends to sell groceries as well and dreams that one day she will have a shop in a big market building.

Jibunnesa (40) lives in slum Dhaka. Jibunnesa took part in a three-day micro-business development training and learned how to improve her business slowly with little capital. Photo: Emdadul Islam Bitu/Concern Worldwide
Jibunnesa (40) lives in slum Dhaka. Jibunnesa took part in a three-day micro-business development training and learned how to improve her business slowly with little capital. Photo: Emdadul Islam Bitu/Concern Worldwide

Jibunnesa says, “I used to earn money at the end of the month by working in other people's houses. Now I am selling vegetables locally and earning every day with the support of my small business from Concern.”

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Concern’s Graduation Programmes are intensive, yet cost-effective. This innovative Dhaka initiative will enable the very poorest households to achieve greater food security, savings and assets; gain access to health care and education and ID registration; build resilience to economic shocks; gain better standing in the community; and enjoy safer, fairer gender power dynamics at home and in the community.

If you donate to this programme you will be investing in individuals dedicated to creating sustainable futures for their families. By the end of a previous Graduation programme in Bangladesh, individual ‘graduates’ had increased their income by an average of 156%, and had more than tripled the value of their assets. We believe strongly that, given our practical, structured support, the Dhaka pavement dwellers have every chance to do just as well.

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