Friends of Basha
Friends of Basha connects people from around the globe to provide advocacy and resources that equip and empower people of Bangladesh to build lives free from exploitation
The Pobitra programme was set up by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in 2008, offering new hope to women trapped in the sex trade: Women like Morsheda*, who found that the only way she could care for her two young children after the death of her husband was through sex-work; or Sheema*, who was promised a job in Dhaka, but instead was taken to a hotel and raped repeatedly.
At Pobitra, women like Morsheda and Sheema are trained in the social and technical skills needed to successfully transition to alterative employment. Pobitra’s year-long training programme includes literacy and life-skills classes, psycho-social support, and work-skills training – and their children receive care, nutrition, and learning opportunities at the in-house day care centre while they study.
At the end of the programme, women are offered positions in protected workplaces such as Basha’s office in Mymensingh. Pobitra continues to support graduates who have relationship, financial, or workplace concerns through a follow-up programme.
*names have been changed.
Children's Uplift Program (CUP)
CUP is a project of Serving in Mission (SIM), working with mothers and children in street situations to break cycles of poverty and abuse. Most CUP mothers previously survived by begging for money or selling sex, with their children often forced into similar work. CUP runs a drop-in centre in Dhaka where these women and children are able to rest, wash and receive crisis support.
CUP also runs a training program for around thirty mothers of young children. The women participate in literacy classes, vocational and life-skills training. Children under five attend school preparation classes while older children are supported to attend local schools.
On completion of their training, women are offered work with Basha’s Dhaka office. Located in the same building, Basha and CUP work closely to provide a seamless transition for the women, with ongoing counselling, support, education, training and child-care services.