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Posted by: Every Mother Counts   |   4/20/2011   |  

Razias Story - Bangladesh

At the age of 11, Razia was nervous on her first day of school. Almost three years later, she sits comfortably with her friends in the after-school library. One of the top students in her class, Razia will enter the formal schooling system as a 5th grader in a few months. "I plan to go to college and be a teacher!" Razia vows. Her mother, married at 13, agrees. "Even though she’s already had suitors, I won’t let Razia to marry until she’s at least 18. I don’t want her life to be a repeat of my own."

Razia is one adolescent whose life has been changed by BRAC. In Sherpur, the village she is from in Bangladesh, most adolescents have never attended school. Girls may marry as early as 12, and many start childbearing before they are 18. A BRAC survey found low levels of understanding about anatomy and reproduction, personal hygiene, fertility and pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among youth age 10-15.

In response, in 1995 BRAC developed a reproductive health Rural Service Delivery Program (RSDP) with a special focus on poor youth, ages 10-15, 70% of whom are girls. The RSDP establishes informal schools that provide 3 years of primary schooling to adolescents who have never attended school. After graduation, students can join Grade 5 in the formal schooling system. Monthly reproductive health sessions are integrated into the regular school curriculum and include topics such as adolescence, reproduction and menstruation, marriage and pregnancy, STIs, family planning and contraception, smoking and substance abuse, and gender issues.

Story from BRAC.


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