17-year-old Nayeem rescues a child from being trafficked

In a country like Bangladesh, child trafficking, child marriage, and child labor are some of the main curses that ruin child’s future generations after generations. A recent study by World Vision says that due to the pandemic, 48% of child marriage has increased. Nearly 28% of children aged (5 to 11 years) and 35% of children aged (12 to 14 years) in child labor have increased. Not only that according to ILO 10,000 children are trafficked each year globally. 

Yet we are hopeful that Heroes like Nayeem are fighting to put an end to these problems. Nayeem is a child forum leader from Tongi Area Program (a densely populated industrial area under Gazipur City corporation).

He has 

  • STOPPED 37 child marriages
  • BROUGHT JUSTICE to 2 child victims of sexual harassment. The perpetrators convicted of child rape cases are detained in prison.
  • RESCUED 1 child from being trafficked.

“I ran to Mita’s house when I heard she is missing. I talked with her mother and rushed to the nearest Police Station. We searched for her everywhere! Finally, after seven days we found her. I felt like, I found my own sister back! " says Nayeem, 17, a child forum leader from Bangladesh. 

He continues to fight for the child rights of boys and girls in his community.

It wasn't easy for him to summon his courage in the face of challenges. He lost both of his parents and became an orphan at a very young age. His uncle and aunt took him under their care. The adversities he faced since young turned him into a shy and introverted boy who was terrified of speaking in public.  But a drastic change happened to his life in the course of time. 

“One day, I noticed some boys of my age having a meeting, and all that they were discussing intrigued me." 

He discovered that they were members of a Child Forum. Excitement kicking in, he attended all the sessions and meetings.

“I did not know anything about children's rights before. However, after attending the sessions, I discovered that I, too, am a victim of child labor and abuse.”

He began to raise his voice for the injustices the children faced in his community. He actively participated in various training regarding child safety and child journalism. He began to participate in leadership activities. The boy who once struggled to speak in public started teaching others how to speak with confidence. 

Through the child forum's activities, he and his friends altogether trained over 1300 children in 8 schools about child safety, child law, and child rights. Through this work, he has enlightened his family members and many other families in his community on children's rights.

“It used to be frightening to see the police or gazetted officials. However, now as I have to deal with crucial situations, I grew a good connection with several government officials from police to ministers.”

He was threatened by many gangsters but it did not stop him and neither did he take a step back.

"It is always challenging to bring changes. If someone dreams to do noble work, hundreds of obstacles will come. But I have a dream, to establish a new future where there will no violence against children! People encourage me, and that is my strength to go further," says Nayeem. 

Written By: 
World Vision Singapore