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"Children: the forgotten soldiers on the streets of Dhaka"
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"Children: the forgotten soldiers on the streets of Dhaka"

Street kids in Bangladesh face a harsh life fighting to earn their bread, yet their fate is largely ignored by the wealthiest in society, according to Mehzabin Ahmed, 28, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Dhaka.

Armed with a weapon of a new kind, a breed of new age warrior has taken over the streets of Dhaka.

“But Bangladesh isn’t at war with anyone. Who are these soldiers? What are they fighting for?” asks my friend Nabil.

Long gone are the days when we fought for our freedom with guns and bullets against Pakistan. The bayonet of our enemy has a new name and disguise today: it’s called poverty.

Disguised as the army of children, our distinguished freedom fighters have formed a trench in the streets of Dhaka, armed with flowers, candies and popcorns to help them on the way.

Who are these fighters? None other than our forgotten children street vendors.

Most of the upper class society in Dhaka tends to think it’s better this way that these children work than beg. It’s all about survival of the fittest, after all. But are these children supposed to be doing it? “Well, the children have nothing to worry. They have more candies than I ever had” complains my 4 year old niece, Tania, as she throws out her half eaten ice cream.

Sheltered from the atrocities of life, little does Tania know that, not much older than herself, these children face a life of a different kind. A life not showered by cartoons and teddy bears. A life where they have to fight to earn their bread, while we turn a blind eye and say, “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.”

Note to foreigners: the text refers to a lot of poor children in Dhaka who mostly earn their living by selling popcorns, flowers, candy, and other goods in the streets.

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About me:

“I come from Bangladesh, home to the Royal Bengal tigers and the longest natural beach in the world. I am passionate about working for sustainable solutions to development. I currently work as a Programme Officer at the Community Empowerment Programme of BRAC, Bangladesh, the largest development organisation in the world right now.

“I am also a freelance journalist and a novice debater. I am bilingual in Bangla and English. I love learning new languages, and am a keen but elementary student of French. What I have learnt from wise words and life experiences is that, “If you want others to change, you have to be willing to change yourself as well”. Feel free to call me Simi.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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