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We want strict measures to stop harassment of women

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Nusrat Islam, Age 15, Bagerhat

Sexual harassment is a common problem for many women in Bangladesh. Women are subjected to this harassment while travelling in buses or walking down the street. This is a reason why many so many girls drop out of school or are victims of child marriage in this country. For the same reason, many guardians don’t want to enroll their daughters in schools, colleges and universities.

I never went to and from school alone. My parents take me to and from school just for my safety. Is it only the responsibility of the guardians of girls to prevent this harassment? No, absolutely not. It’s our collective responsibility. A person who harasses women also has a family. If his family, like a girl's parents, was determined that no girl would be harassed by their son, wouldn't this completely stop harassment? So we want strict measures to stop harassment of women.

Meaningful rehabilitation of street children

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Jahangir Alam, Age 17, Lalmonirhat

Many children in this country are deprived of their rights to education, nutritious food, shelter, social security and health and are forced to choose the life of a street child. This country has thousands of such street children who were utterly unprotected during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of them sell flowers on the streets, some work as peddlers and some beg for survival at the age when they are supposed to hold their parent's hands and go to school. Since they are living in a dirty and unhygienic environment, they are affected physically and mentally. As they don’t have any dreams or aspirations, they become involved in all sorts of criminal activities. Girl street children are subject to various kinds of harassment, including sexual abuse, all the time.

Today’s children are the wealth of the future. The development of the nation is not possible without this huge number of children. For this reason the fundamental needs of these street children must be met, they need to be rehabilitated properly to create a promising and skilled generation.

We want our guardians by our side

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Afrida Zahin, Age 13, Rangpur

We have stepped from childhood into adolescence . As we grow older, our horizons expand. We are learning to dream on our own. We want our guardians by our sides make our dreams come true.

We all have dreams but cannot make those come true. One of the main reasons is the family barriers. Girls face these obstacles more and have to overcome these barriers. Our dreams are often destroyed by pressure from parents. We stumble on our way to make parents happy and run after so-called success. Many parents do not try to understand this. They do not value the opinions or the aspirations of their children.

Please encourage us so that we can get the chance to express our talents and make meaningful contributions to the nation.

Special measures for dropouts

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Arefin Moon, Age 14, Sirajganj

Financial hardship in families induced by Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many children to work outside the home. Child labour has increased during the Covid period due to the prolonged closure of educational institutions. Many girls fall victim to child marriage due to financial constraints and lack of security.

In the past, we had much success in preventing dropouts from school. Therefore, we hope that effective measures can be taken to bring the dropout students back to the school. This pandemic has devastated children's mental health.

Ensuring quality education, schools should take effective steps for those students who lagged behind and are affected mentally due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Quality education a must for suitable skills

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Tasnuva Mehzabin, Age 14, Khulna

Our education system has never been flawless. Students have suffered a lot while the education system has become more chaotic with the closure of educational institutions during the pandemic period.

Therefore, with special educational activities for the students who lagged behind during the pandemic, we want quality education which will help us to create much-needed skills. The skill-oriented education can rescue us from the vicious cycle of poverty.

For this reason, whatever needs to be done to improve the quality of education must be done immediately because substandard education will hinder our progress. So, the fresh education system to be introduced in 2023 must emphasise on learning skills rather than just awarding degrees.

We want eco-friendly education and life skills

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Asaduzzaman, Age 16, Thakurgaon

Bangladesh has ranked 9th among the 10 nations in the world affected most by disaster in the last 20 years. In this timeframe, around 113 million people fell victim to natural calamities. The figures, in a joint report by the CRED and the UN agency UNDRR, alarmed me so much that I think if we don't prevent this now, then it could be a bigger threat for us than the coronavirus pandemic. We are victims of floods, cyclones, tidal surges, tornadoes, erosions and droughts. Flood and drought have increased in my area in North Bengal.

Nature will take revenge if injustice is done to nature. We are destroying forests, killing wild animals and filling rivers. We want to overcome all these disasters.

* These opinions, appearing in Prothom Alo, have been rewritten in English by NH Sajjad

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