Dhaka (AsiaNews) – In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a large number of volunteers is helping street kids. Br Lucio Beninati, a PIME missionary who founded an association dedicated to children living on the streets of the Bangladeshi capital, is applying the experience he accumulated helping children in Brazilian shantytowns (favelas) to Bangladesh. His action provides help to children but also constitutes a form of interfaith dialogue based on deeds more than words.
At the beginning, things were a bit hard, but over time, a virtual movement was born based on volunteers. No member of the group is a trained social worker. In fact, volunteers must pay a small monthly fee to join. Usually, volunteers work in the evening, six days a week, covering each day a different part of the city. At present, the association has about 80 regular members, plus a close-knit network of contacts.
During the weekly meetings, the volunteers play with children, check their health conditions (wounds, infections, etc) and try to teach them something. The first thing is basic hygiene, including critical information about the need to drink water. Many of the kids beg for a living, or do odd jobs, so they often do not drink enough, something important in a hot country like Bangladesh. Failure to drink a minimum amount of water can cause the children to faint or feel sick just because they are unaware of the need to dehydrate themselves on a regular basis.