Tahmina Shafique The Complete Portfolio

20Oct/060

So what are you doing this Eid?

For Dhaka-resident Rumana Zaman, a teacher and a housewife, Eid is simply a twice-yearly routine that doesn’t change. ‘Get up, say the morning prayer, eat breakfast, wish people Eid Mubarak, cook, maybe go visiting, have guests coming over, feed them, eat, eat, eat, cook, clean, eat and sleep,’ she sighs ruefully.

This Eid she is bent on making it somehow more special. ‘We hardly get any holidays and when we do get these holidays, most of it is spent cooking, serving guests and working, and at the end of it all you get back to work stressed out.’

For most people, in spite of the excitement of reunion of friends and family, Eid revolves around a similar not-so-exciting pattern every year. The trend is changing towards finding ways to make a more enjoyable and relaxed; be it through visiting loved ones, taking a trip to the countryside, going out of the country or just celebrating at home. ‘The point is to let your hair down for a while and have fun!’ says Jamil Hassan, a copy writer with a Dhaka Advertising Agency.

This year, Rumana is planning ahead for Eid. ‘It is always the mother who is dumped with all the household work and responsibilities and this is exactly what’s wrong with most of these holidays.’ So this time, Rumana called an in-house meeting and delegated work to everyone at home including the three children. While twelve-year-old daughter Hridi will be cleaning up, her younger sisters Hrishi and Yushua will be helping their mother in the kitchen and serving guests. She has also decided that all the guests will be invited for lunch, and the family will go out for dinner. ‘I need a change. It seems ages since we went for a long drive or had dinner somewhere far away from home.’

‘Ten years back, perhaps it would have been much different. But now, we count days to get a holiday. And when Eid comes by, most of us jump at the opportunity of having a good time, setting aside worries and laying back,’ says Farhana Amin, working at a private bank in the city. ‘The holiday comes as a break from the tight schedule of work and I try to do something I can’t do during work.’ According to her, it’s a great idea to visit relatives who stay far away or are busy at other times. That way, you also get to go for a long drive.

Since time immemorial, it seems, it has been a tradition for many to go back to their village homes on Eid. Even people with all family members in the city, would go to their villages and spend the Eid holiday there. However, there is a definite change now. Dhaka dwellers in their droves are breaking free from this tradition and opting to spend Eid in the city. According to Mayeesha, a university student, people of her age have mixed feelings about spending Eid in the village home.

‘Five years ago, we’d perhaps go to Mymensingh to spend Eid. But we do not do that anymore.’ Although most families would not consciously admit it, this trend is disappearing significantly, as families become deeply entrenched in city life. ‘However, a lot of my friends still go and only a few of them have a problem spending time with cousins or second cousins who may be very different from them.’

Then again, some people actually welcome the break from city life and consider it as an opportunity to get close to nature once again. Tanjeem Ahmed, a manager at a publication house, agrees with this concept. ‘It does not have to be one’s own village, it could be anywhere across the country.’

He feels these Eid holidays should be spent on exploring the country and enjoying its beauty. ‘There are so many places in our own country that are worth a visit. For people who cannot afford to go out of the country on Eid, this is the best option. It is not necessary to spend extravagantly in order to have a fun filled Eid. One can spend a lifetime exploring the beauty of this country and still not see enough.’ This year Tanjeem and his family taking a trip to Cox’s Bazar for a week. ‘I am looking forward to the open place and the fresh air, after so long,’

he grins.

For some, Eid is the time to forget about all financial limitations and spend extravagantly. ‘We should use these holidays to get out of our cocoons,’ says Shampa Nasir, a working mother. ‘Getting away from our daily lives and taking trips, be it in your country or outside is a good idea.’ This year Shampa and her family are taking a trip to Dubai, where she has friends and a few members of her extended family. ‘Of course this year is an exception, but in other years, we do spend time with our close ones, especially parents. But, if you can manage to get a little change even once in a year, you are lucky!’

A few years back, Shampa and her husband would save up for these trips. ‘Sometimes it was Malaysia, Singapore and even Thailand. All its takes is a proper planning. Be it at home or outside- you can make it special,’ she adds.

While some families get a taste of life abroad on Eid, others come home to reunite. Nasim Ahmed, a Bangladeshi immigrant to Canada, has taken a whole month off from job and come back home with his family for Eid. For him the best way to enjoy Eid is to have the whole family together. ‘It is after three years that I am spending Eid with my parents. My siblings have also come back from different countries. It’s going to be the best Eid in a long time. I feel lucky to be able to be part of the Eid celebration.’

Unfortunately only a handful of people have the same luck as Nasim. To many Bangladeshis living abroad, Eid passes almost unnoticed. Sadat Anik Zuhir, a university student in Australia shares his view of being away from home in Eid. ‘A few years back Eid was all about being with friends and family. It was in the air- the coming of the big day, but it is no longer the same, you don’t even understand when it comes and when goes,’ he said.

Having spent more than five years in Sidney, Eid is now a just a formality of calling up parents and wishing them and rushing to work. ‘Even though life doesn’t stop at a standstill, even for a couple of minutes the general purpose of Eid which is to get together is in many ways is served. Although it is through a phone call or a mail- the purpose is served,’ he says.

As days pass on, bringing us closer to the big day, the city lightens up with its ever glowing colors of Eid. People look happier, families spend time together shopping.

The general air is more festive. ‘Shemai’ and ‘biriyani’ can’t taste any better, and the holiday season promises that long awaited respite to the tired soul.

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13Oct/060

That’s entertainment

Her heart pounding, she steps up into the spot light. This is the moment. The day of reckoning. With a deep breath she looks up, trembling to be told her fate.

She is being watched, talked about, yet she is one out of hundreds and perhaps thousands of aspiring men and women who come from far flung areas of Bangladesh, hoping to bag a crown. They hope to become singers, or super models, or actors, in one word, stars.

Talent hunts, be it ‘Close-up- Tomakei Khujche Bangladesh’, ‘DRockstar’, ‘Lux-Channel-I superstar’, ‘Bengal Bikash’, ‘ATN Tarokader Taroka’or ‘Pantene You got the Look’, have brought about a sea change in the showbiz industry. The task is to make stars and idols out of extraordinary people who might otherwise seem ordinary.

As more and more talent hunt contests are coming up, there is a constant debate on the concept of ‘stars’ and ‘idols’. Critics point towards the focus on ‘glamour and outlook’ rather than ‘talent’. As the debate grows more and more intense, organisers of these contests strive to set their own formats and criteria that could focus at least a little on the talent.

While the public fascination grows, the question remains, are these contests successful in terms of finding a talent that would last a long time?

Back in the day

It all started around 27 years ago. ‘Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Shommelon Parisad’ started its search for creative talents who could restore the essence of Ranbindra Sangeet. ‘Unlike the talent hunts that we see today, this contest was not associated with any form of electronic media. Its aim was to search for latent talents and help them nurture their skills,’ says Rabindra Sangeet singer Bulbul Islam.

Although the contest dates back to almost three decades, its search was at a national scale. ‘There were participants from all parts of the country, who were given the chance to enhance their skills by some of the best singers in the country,’ says Bulbul. Despite the change in the trend, the organisation continues its goal to enhance the talents of these contestants rather then transforming them into stars overnight.

‘If you are searching for a true talent you cannot possibly make them stars straight away,’ says singer Subir Nandi. ‘It’s in many ways sad that such forms of art are being used as a tool of commercialism. You cannot select a star through sms [phone-message voting], nor can you turn somebody who has never been into these forms of art, into a star in a matter of few months.’ According to him, although these talent hunts have brought a platform for the younger generation, there is a dire shortage of true talent. ‘It takes more than ten years and a lot of dedication and practice to be a true star.’

Perhaps the first platform for young talents was introduced through the ‘Notun Kuri’ which gained popularity during the late eighties for bringing out some exceptional talents of all time. It has still managed to survive even today. ‘It was from Notun Kuri that artists like Ishita, Konok Chapa and many more came into the picture,’ says Kumar Biswajit. Critics comment that during the old times there was very little media exposure and publicity, but more focus on what makes a true star: talent and determination.

The 80’s also introduced beauty contests through Lux Anandadhara ‘Photoshundori’ which showcased many aspiring stars. Perhaps the longest running talent hunts, Lux Anandadhara started as photoshundari back in 1988. Considering the factors associated, the contest focused only on pictures rather than having a regular beauty pageant. So the process of sending away best pictures continued, after which they were short listed by Anandadhara and Lux and finally chosen by the panel of judges. Unlike today, their pictures were not plastered in billboards, but critics feel that it added value their position as winners.

‘In order to value the position that you get as stars, you need to have the space to grow much higher skill and be humble at the same time,’ says Fahmida Nabi while talking about the effectiveness of talent hunts of present day.

A new era

In a span of just a few years, the focus of these contests has changed. Today Lux-Anandadhara’s Miss photogenic has undergone a complete conversion. Experts say some of these have been for the good while others have brought about adverse effects. The brand new Lux-Channel-I Superstar is claimed to be more focused on talents rather than looks only. Its very recent search of a star for Humayan Ahmed’s Daruchini Dwip set out the criteria rather bluntly—they wanted a talented person, not a beauty queen. Therefore, the criteria for becoming ‘the one’ were much higher and the candidates were required to improve their skills as much as possible.

The selection of Zakia Bari Mamo, a student pursuing Drama and Dramatics in Jahangir Nagar University, perhaps indicated that now the organisers were finally looking for raw talents.

‘Just being a part of the contest made us learn things which we didn’t know about,’ says Zakia Bari Mamo, the star selected for Daruchini Dwip. ‘We learnt everything from posture, speech, acting, to being a part of the new world we were about to enter’. Mamo agrees it was difficult for all the contestants who had to perform an array of roles. ‘We had to be good at everything- be it comedy, melodrama, and even dance. Mamo, who grew up learning these forms of art, feels she has been lucky.

‘Considering the tough competition, I would not have made it, if I had not pursued dancing and acting from an early age’. Like many other stars, Mamo’s life has changed. In just twenty days, it has taken a completely new turn.

This contest has joined in its particular field by many others, notably ‘Pantene You Got the Look’, which still focuses on the looks and glamour.

Although the trend started way back in the 90’s, the year 2005 saw the most extensive and vocal talent hunt contest, ‘Close-up 1 Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh’. Fashioned after ‘American Idol’ and ‘Indian Idol’, the contest for vocal talents introduced the concept of ‘idol’ in Bangladesh. Arguably, one of the most popular shows, it has attracted a lot of public attention in its first year. Close-up is at the moment running its second year.

‘Close-up-Tomakei Khujche Bangladesh’ became more popular as it formed the classic rags to riches story where a street singer Nolok Babu, became the ‘Bangladeshi Idol’ winning one million take, the hearts of thousands of viewers who voted for him, and a future studded with opportunities.

‘I still remember the days I use to sing in public trains in Jamalpur and earn a living. And in a second it all changed,’ says Nolok. He is working for his new album and looks forward to a singing career.

‘It was after this contest, that people across the country, especially the youngsters, began to give importance to Bangla songs and that in itself is an achievement,’ says Fahmida Nabi. ‘Moreover, this year the participants are much more skilled, determined and serious’. The competition of 2006 is more intense as the major focus is talent.

In spite the popularity, the contest has its own share of criticism. ‘It is not possible to build a star in a matter of four to five months, it takes a lot more to get there,’ says Kumar Biswajit, the eminent singer and member of the jury in Closeup 1 contest. ‘The winners need to be guided and groomed before being given the star exposure’.

Fahmida Nabi also agrees that once the participants win, there is a dire need for them to practice and enhance their skills. ‘They cannot be desperate to be stars overnight. They need to take this up seriously and respect the position they have been given,’ she says.

Members of the jury from many of these contests, strongly feel the need for proper selection criteria. According to Fahmida Nabi, the stars that are being selected from such contests are in many ways representing the culture and heritage and hence there is a need to choose skilled and humble artists who can value their position.

Many of the experts express their disappointment of the selection of many ‘stars’ in the last few years. According to them it was based on the background and publicity of the stars. ‘Some of the stars selected did not deserve their positions. The decisions made by the judges were much different than the public opinion who have very little knowledge on talent,’ says Biswajit. ‘Much of the decisions were based on the participant’s background and life which prioritized emotional aspects rather than talent itself.’

Experts also point towards the commercial interest of these contests. According to them, these shows have not only generated higher advertising and subscription revenues through popular content, but also have been able to tap a third source— interactivity using mobile phones. In the west, where such shows are already the rage, viewers who wish to place a vote for any of the interactive shows on television can do so via telephone or on the Internet by paying as little as a few pence. And the response has been tremendous. Bangladesh having followed the same process, has seen a record in the number of sms being sent out to vote for popular participants. But, again, it also has been a source of controversy.

‘The concept of sms as means of voting should be abolished.

If you want to choose a talent, do it the right way,’ says Subir Nandi. According to him, experts could be a better judge of such talents rather than a mass crowd who look for ‘idols’ rather than raw talent. ‘If we are going to continue this system then there should be a proper monitoring and strict rule of sending one sms from one phone’. He also points out that while public opinion could be taken into account, the jury’s opinion, given their experience, needs to be also given more importance. It’s a hunt for an artist and this certainly cannot be determined through sms’.

‘Once these stars are born, we have rarely seen a result. Have they practiced enough? Have you seen an album becoming truly success? If one can answer them, they will know where the problem lies,’ points Fahmida Nabi. ‘It’s the practice and modesty that they lack’.

Subir Nandi agrees that these contests have brought about a vast change among the younger generation. ‘It feels great to know that more and more young people are pursuing music as a career and today they are actually practicing’.

According to Biswajit, the fact that the contestants are more educated and skilled as singers means they are expected to be more determined and serious about their careers.

‘Unlike the last time, these participants are aware of the grammar, the breathing techniques and basics of music, which is something we didn’t have before. More importantly, we have a variety of voices which have promising future.

Like others, Mita Huq, singer and member of the jury in Bengal Bikash agrees the contestants are skilled and hold a promising future. ‘What I liked about Bengal Bikash was that it was not looking for an “idol” or a “star” but a latent talent.’ The contest had very little publicity and focused more on searching for some raw talents. Focusing on Rabindra, Nazrul, folk songs and other modern songs, the contest had strict rules of candidates having proper experience and skill.

‘Our initiation was to relive the era of such creative and traditional songs and bring out hidden talents of artists across the country,’ explains Luva Nahid Chowdhury, the Director of Bengal Foundation.

‘We were not looking for a star, our lone objective was to discover musical talents, not merely those who intend to participate for the sake of becoming famous.’

A unique aspect of the contest was that the participants were required to send in their recorded songs without instrumental backup. There was no scope for sms or voting. Despite the low publicity and different rules, the contest gained much popularity among music lovers.

According to Ayub Bacchu, although the performance of these contests may have been effective, there is a dire need for versatile singers. ‘It’s always the same tune, same style; we need to look for something unique that could strike a chord with this generation’.

Like others, he agrees that the participants need more time to practice and enhance their skills. ‘Talent hunts should not be mixed with showbiz,’ adds Ayub, who is leading Drockstar— a contest looking for ten aspiring rock stars.

‘It’s a fact that such contests have become a business but it is important for the industry to exploit anyone deemed fit by the talent hunts,’ says Fahmida Nabi.

So far, Unilever, Closeup, Grameen Phone, BATB have been the biggest players in this business with others holding smaller programmes in flanks. Increasingly, large companies are making their way to follow their lead in this booming and competitive business.

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6Oct/060

Being children for a week

Twelve-year-old Halima (not her real name) has been selling flowers in the streets of Baily road for the last eight years. ‘From early morning to late evening, I run around the streets hoping to at least earn some money to eat a piece of bread,’ she says. As the afternoon progresses, she becomes nervous about her performance on stage. ‘I am dancing to the tune of my favorite song ‘Ak tara bajaiyo na’ and I am excited but scared.’

Although Halima spends the entire year struggling to earn money, this past week, like many other street children, she enjoyed her life. ‘For one whole week we get to have fun, dance, sing and eat as much as we want!’ This past week, to commemorate the ‘International Child Rights Week’, countless children across the city had the opportunity to be ‘children’ for once. It is one of those rare occasions that these children who work and live in dreadful conditions, discovered the little joys of childhood.

As Halima prepares to get on the stage, Rahima (15) (not her real name) rushes to get her share of ‘Morog Polao’. According to her, the best part of the week was being able to eat. As each year proceeds, the celebration of international child rights week becomes more important for child rights organisations and undoubtedly children themselves. One of the biggest celebrations of this past week was perhaps in Shishu Academy, where countless children from different places gathered. The entrance of the academy looked more vibrant and colorful than ever. The multi colored ribbons and banners were outshone by the festive children whose songs rang throughout the place.

As Rahima enjoys her food, she expresses her joy at being a child for a week. ‘At least for a week in the year, I get to eat, have fun and not live the life I have been given’.

Having grown in the streets, Rahima’s life is not any different from the other street children. At the age of nine, her stepfather married her. When she complained to her mother, she refused to believe it and threw the young girl out of the house. Rahima decided to go to Dhaka and work. ‘But when I came to Dhaka, I was taken in by the police and kept in safe custody for six months and then shifted to jail where I stayed for three months.’ During these months, Rahima had to undergo severe beatings and sexual assaults. When they contacted her mother, she refused to take her back in and that is how, after being released, Rahima tried to make a living out of working with the girls in Ramna park. ‘They use to pick garbage, sell chocolates and try to earn a living,’ she explains. Soon Rahima came across two women who promised to give her a better life and took her to a house is Moghbazar. It did not take Rahima long to realize that she was in a brothel.

‘I was beaten up and tortured until I agreed to be a prostitute,’ she says. For six years, Rahima went through unbearable forms of physical and mental torture. ‘They didn’t spare me for a day and I wish I had died,’ she says, breaking into tears.

Experts point out that such cases are not an exception. According to them, Bangladesh has seen a rapid rise in the violation of child rights especially in terms of sexual violence and abuse. Reports show that everyday, at least, one out of five children are abused and exploited.

With the International Child Rights Week being celebrated globally, the ambiguous question remains as to whether the children are indeed getting their due rights, or even if they are aware what those rights are.

‘The sad irony that remains is that it is only for one week that such focus on rights of children is highlighted,’ says Zinat Afroze, social development advisor of child rights at Plan Bangladesh. ‘There is a dire need for proper continuation of protection of child rights and co-operation of all organisations and bodies that aim to protect this right.’

According to Save the Children UK analysis, the children most vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitations are child workers, street children, child sex workers, children of sex workers and children in conflict with law. According to their research, there are 380,000 children in these areas alone. Moreover, experts point out that violations of child rights exists in the form of inaccessibility to education, sexual abuse, domestic violence, trafficking and hazards at work.

‘There is an absence of a coherent policy and legal framework, of recognition of protection as an integrated set of rights and of the multiple vulnerabilities of children,’ says U M Habibun Nessa, head of child rights programme, Save the Children, UK. ‘There are clear and strong laws that aim to protect children from such forms of violation. In fact, the 1974 Children’s Act is clearly a broad ranging and often progressive instrument dealing with children’s protection.’ She further points out that the laws associated with child right does ensure strong protection of rights of children.

However, she points out that while the legal and policy framework does deal with protection issues, it is not altogether clear. Therefore, the law concerning child rights has to provide a strong implementation mechanism and appropriate sanction. These functions, powers, and authority of labour inspectors have to be clearly defined in the laws. ‘One of the major obstacles to legal actions against the perpetrators is that the prosecution against the violators depends on the Chief Inspector or inspectors so authorised by the former. The right to initiate cases should be opened to the victims and their representatives,’ she adds.

Needless to say, there is a strong need for establishment of children’s’ rights. However difficult it may be to establish these rights, Bangladesh is stepping towards a strong footing in promoting child rights in the last ten years. In the last one decade, there has been a good number of NGOs coming up with projects that educate children and make them aware of issues involving them. Moreover, we have innovative projects which involve children themselves where they have their own say and views. ‘One of the major developments has been the change in the attitude, social norms that exclude children from decision making,’ points out Dr Selina Amin who has had a long experience in working with issues of child rights and health and is at the moment the health advisor at Plan Bangladesh. ‘The participation of children themselves in developing ‘National Plan of Action’(NPA), which aims to protect the right of children through development, protection and participation, shows the beginning of the views and say of children,’ She further stressed on the need to make education accessible to these children, education being one their major rights.

According to Habibun Nessa, there has been a major movement of child rights organisation in establishing child rights to a great extent. She also adds that a significant progress has been achieved through Bangladesh’s participation in UN Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC).

In 2003, Bangladesh presented its Second State Periodic Report on the implementation of the CRC. According to her, the report highlights both the improvements and challenges to the well-being and rights of children, as Bangladesh attempts to fully implement the CRC.

Although Rahima’s loss cannot be compensated, she is now beginning a better life with the support of one such organization, Aparajeyo Bangladesh.

Despite the notable achievements, there are areas of child rights that are yet to brought out to the public eye. Experts point towards the mounting violation of rights among street children who live on the pavements and streets. According to researchers, it is estimated that there are 50000 street children in Dhaka alone. These children make a living out of working as domestic servants or prostitutes, selling flowers, picking rubbish over dumps for scraps of paper or plastic that can be sold, sell drugs and alcohol. They are being regularly picked up by the police who extract bribes, beat, humiliate and harass them.

According to an Amnesty International report, countless of number of children are arbitrarily arrested and held for various lengths of time in detention. It also adds that most children are not charged at all; if they are charged with petty or even serious offences, they do not have the wherewithal to engage legal counsel.

Such is the case of Nurul Nabi (15), who spent most of his life in the streets. His mother had left him in the Shadarghat promising to be back by dusk but she never returned. Since then he spent most of his life in the streets, often bullied and tortured by a gang of boys and the police. Later, he was put into the work of selling marijuana. ‘I did it because that way I could at least be able to earn a living to feed myself,’ explains Nurul. But soon he was arrested and kept in jail.

Nurul went through various kinds of mental and physical abuse during his time in jail. ‘I was kept in the adult prison along with two other boys of my age. We were abused frequently and this was accepted by the jail police, who were no better then the prisoners,’ he recalls.

‘Such cases of children being kept with adult prisoners is a direct violation of right,’ points out Salma Jabin, coordinator of mitigation of Ain-O-Shalish-Kendra. ‘Although the laws explicitly mention that these children cannot be kept with the adult prisoners, it is not enacted, and this is just a testimony of the flawed system and lack of proper implementation.’ She also adds that there are children who are also being sentenced to death which is again raising questions towards the proper implementation and monitoring of the system.

‘Such children’s rights are violated even more because those who are supposed to protect the rights of children lack proper knowledge,’ says Zinat Afroze, social development advisor of Plan Bangladesh. ‘Take the example of policemen, there are countless cases that point out that they are either not aware of the rights of the children or ignorant about their protection’. Zinat’s study on ‘Commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Asia (focused on Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia and India), points out that, majour duty holders such as police, doctors, lawyers themselves violate child rights in various instances. ‘Therefore, it is the judiciary system itself and the service providers, who need to be aware of the laws and protect the rights of children,’ she adds.

Being the victims of the vicious cycle of poverty, there are an escalating numbers of children involved in worst and dangerous forms of labor. According to the National Labour Survey 2002-03, there are 17.4% of the working children who are engaged in hazardous work, which means 1.3 million children in age group 5-17. Research show that such forms of hazardous work leads to disincentive effect on the children physically and mentally.

Sujon (10) is one of such endless number of children who face the miserable plight in an early age. He has been working for the last four year, first as a tea-seller and now in an aluminium factory in Lalbagh. ‘I often suffocate while working in the factory. Most of the time my skin burns from working from dawn till late at night’.

Reports indicate that child workers like Sujon are regularly exposed to dangerous levels of dust gases, fumes, heat and noises.

‘A number of labour laws deal with the issue of child labour. Most of the laws were enacted either in the colonial period or in the pre-independence era. Although some of the labour laws were amended quite a few times, these are still not adequate to address the issue of child labour,’ points out Khodadad Hossain Sarker, Programme Manager of Child Labour, Save the Children UK.

According to him, one of the major functions of the child labour laws is to set a general minimum age for all types of work; a minimum age for admission to hazardous work; and a minimum age for light work. The numerous labour legislations in the country have set various age limits for admission into various types of work. Each labour law, which has dealt with children, has also gone a little further to define child resulting in confusion between the definition of child and minimum age for admission into employment.

He further highlights that the legislation should provide a list of hazardous sectors/activities/processes where children under 18 cannot work and give authority to certain body to periodically review and amend the list as and when necessary.

But, there has been some initiation taken to improve this area. One highlighted by Delowar Hossain, programme officer of juvenile justice, Save the Children, UK, is the ratification of ILO convention 182, that eliminates hazardous child labour. ‘The draft of child labour policy is also undergoing the process of approval, paving ways to protect child rights strongly,’ he adds.

‘There is a need for an effective mechanism to enforce the existing laws. Therefore legislations and laws need to be accompanied by enforcement mechanism with provisions for effective sanctions in case of any form of violation,’ points out Salma Jabin of Ain O Shalish Kendro.

What remains as the ultimate challenge is that children like Rahima, Nurul and Sujon have a better life.

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