i. Change the state of discrimination exists in Bangladesh for the underprivileged children and facilitate long-term and sustainable initiatives for the development of the children
ii. Ensure support for all the children and incorporate pro-children policies so that they become part of all meaningful reforms in the society
iii. Generate appropriate knowledge, address gaps in existing knowledge, and aware the critical mass on the state of children
iv. Empower families and communities to move forward and contribute in the development of their children
v. Facilitate the knowledge development of young people so that they can be an active force of social development
vi. Utilize mass communication media at its best possible forms to raise awareness in the society and to achieve our vision and mission
Vision of EKMATTRA
The vision of Ekmattra Society is to build a society where the children are cherished in a world free of discrimination, and the society will ensure the development and security of the children by all means. In providing a secured future for a child, Ekmattra will facilitate the underprivileged part of the communities through holistic development functionaries. Ekmattra will connect all its development drives to address negative repercussions on children and ensure a child-friendly national and global development process.
A study of BIDS in the year 2004 shows that there were 6,74,178 street children in Dhaka city of which 75% were in Dhaka city. Further A BIDS and UNICEF joint study (2009) reveals that the projected number of the street children in Bangladesh by 2015 could be 11,44,754. The founders of Ekmattra, the then students of the University of Dhaka during the first decade of the 21st century, were concerned about the results of growing unsafe migration of the children in Bangladesh due to the social injustice, discrimination, micro level poverty, family aberrance, natural disaster and the blind fascination to capitalism through the city life.
Ekmattra’s primary inception started back in 2003 through an in-depth observation of the plight of the rootless disadvantageous children living on the street in the most of public places of Dhaka city. Our observation revealed some shocking features of their lives. Living on street is not only the misery of these disadvantageous children; rather any opportunists take this gamble to exploit and abuse those children. They misplaced their childhood serving as different role including illegal trade like street sex workers, helping hands at restaurants, transport labors, rickshaw pullers, van-driver or bus assistant, street hawkers, drug seller and the like. One of the shocking matters is that they start begging when they had nothing to do or another way-out they have which is to involve themselves in many criminal activities or to become a victim of the gangs. In this effect, they become drug addicted severely. Basically these street children are being deprived of basic needs and privileges what they deserve as social being and they are going to grasp a dark world to survive them. Nonetheless, there are a few to stay beside them, to give them love, affection, care and to command them for their betterment.
In such circumstances, we, a group of the then students of Dhaka University became interested to contribute directly in resolving the misery of these street children. We tried to get closer to those street children and passed time listening to them. We tried to understand them to feel their grief, miseries and the uncertain future. We realized the inner risks of these children are at the brink of misuse and abuse. In this sensible ground, we felt a quick urge to do something effective for them. But at that time, we didn't have any major plan to establish an organization. We just started an open sky school for them. Our initial objective was to teach them basic skill-based education, health and hygiene education, and to provide them a piece of recreation by singing, painting or playing outdoor games, which might help them to ease the pain of their monotonous life. At one stage, we realized that they need something more beyond their basic needs like food, cloths, shelter and education, which is that a close mental support and mental attachment what people get only from family. In 2003, we extended our support to them with evidence and conducted a baseline survey on street children in Dhaka City. The findings of the study gave us a holistic picture and a compulsion to do something for those endangered children on street. We realized having no alternative to have a decent life this is the destiny of these destitute children. Existing social injustice and discrimination that gradually increasing has provoked them to sustain but as there is no way to sustain fairly, they are bound to grasp any unfair way to live. Therefore, we started to plan and trying to communicate with other who can support and contribute to materialize our dream. In 2004, we formed Ekmattra Society formally taking the registration from Joint Stock Company Act authorities of the Government of Bangladesh. More: http://www.ekmattra.org/