I really like the idea of giving IKEA co-workers the opportunity to see what happens with the funding from the Soft Toys for Education campaign, which we run at IKEA every year. Everyone I tell about the fact that I am one of the lucky winners going to Bangladesh asks me, “Where exactly is Bangladesh?”
Bangladesh is located east of India and it takes about 12 hours by plane to get there from Switzerland. It is quite surprising that we do not know more about this country. With its 150 million inhabitants, Bangladesh is the eighth most populous nation in the world. With an area of 147,569 km² it is just number 93 in the world when it comes to the size. However, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. This can be compared to Switzerland with 41,285 km² and a population of 8 million.
Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh. About 6 million people live there and more than 11 million in the surrounding area. The country is located in the tropical climate zone. In the summer it is hot and humid, and winters are mild. In summer the monsoon has a big influence and causes annual flooding.
Bangladesh is still listed as a developing country. With a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita of 1,900 US dollars, the country is one of the poorest in the world (GDP in Switzerland: 43,000 US dollars). Nevertheless, the country has made big progress in the last 25 years, also due to help from non-governmental organizations like Save the Children.
Despite all efforts the literacy rate is still low and almost 50 percent of the people can not read and write. In 2007 the average teacher had to educate 45 students in a class. Those figures show how important the projects from Save the Children are – education is the first step out of poverty.
I am sure that we will discover a lot in this country and that we will see the world with different eyes once we have returned back home. It is a unique opportunity and experience. I would like to share it with you! Follow our blog while we are on our trip to learn more about life in Bangladesh!