Population: 163 million
Poverty rate: 13.8%
Economic growth has lifted millions out of poverty, with Bangladesh graduating to lower-middle-income country status in 2015. However, progress on poverty reduction has been slower in urban than in rural areas. While those in rural areas struggle with access to education, health care, and markets, low-income households in urban centres often live in cramped and unhygienic conditions and endure exploitative or unstable employment. Climate change poses a significant threat to both rural and urban communities, with Bangladesh’s low-lying geography making it particularly vulnerable to flooding.
Aadin’s journey to walk for life
Aadin* is one of 4,000 Bangladeshi children born with clubfoot every year. Clubfoot is a significant challenge for disadvantaged families, who can’t afford treatment and face social stigma due to lack of awareness about the condition. Children with clubfoot are often kept out of school and struggle to find work later in life, resorting to menial labour or even begging.
When Aadin* was born with both his feet twisted inward, his parents were dismayed. They had never heard of clubfoot and didn’t know if the condition could be treated. They earned a living through fishing, and worried about whether they could afford doctors’ fees.
Fortunately, a family member let Aadin’s parents know about Walk for Life – Bangladesh’s national clubfoot program. In 2015, Aadin attended his first appointment at a Walk for Life clinic in Bhola District and began treatment that same day.
Walk for Life physiotherapists used the Ponseti method, which involves gentle manipulation of the feet using casts and braces, to gradually bring Aadin’s feet into the correct alignment.
Five years later, Aadin completed his treatment and can now walk and run, and his parents are thrilled to see their son playing with other children. Aadin is one of over 28,000 children who have been treated by Walk for Life.
* Name changed
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