Ansar Ahmed Ullah
The UK Charity Friends of Street Children Bangladesh organised an online fundraising event on 1 August 2021, celebrating 50 years since the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and demonstrations in London calling for the independence of Bangladesh. The event aimed to raise funds for the Local Education and Economic Development Organization (LEEDO) in Dhaka with children surviving on the streets.
One of the highlights was the premiere of a new arrangement of songs from the hugely popular Bangladeshi band Backstage. Musicians from 6 different countries contributed to the video. Tony Stevens, who took part in the demonstrations in London and Val Harding, who volunteered at a refugee camp in 1971, shared their memories. There were also performances from supporters of LEEDO in Bangladesh and the UK, including Afia singing & Radhika performing dance. The event concluded with songs from the children of projects run by LEEDO. Mike Sherriff, Chairman of Friends of Street Children Bangladesh, conducted the event.
LEEDO has been working with children on the streets of Dhaka since 2010. They work with children at the ferry terminal, the station, and other places in Dhaka where street connected children meet. When possible, LEEDO re-unites children with their families, they provide education on the streets, emergency shelters near the station and river port, and a long-term home for children when this is the best option. Many of the children staying at the long-term home have physical and learning disabilities.