Poronto Bela (Evening Reds)

Social safety net program for poor and vulnerable elderly

In Bangladesh the majority of older persons face financial hardship in old age as most of them are not in a position to earn their livelihood. Their savings, if any, are not enough to meet their day to day, particularly the medical expenses. Many times their family members and relatives exploit them due to their vulnerability.

Aging in dignity is a pious wish for many people in Bangladesh, as there is no state welfare system. If the children cannot support their parents, they face hard times in old age.

As of 2019, over 13 million people living in Bangladesh are aged over 60 which is 8% of the country’s total population. The proportion of older people is expected to double to 21.9% in 2050 with 36 million people aged over 60. This means that for every five Bangladeshis, one will be a senior citizen.

The precarious situation of old people left alone caught the eye of Christa and Jörg Wahl from Freiburg when they visited us in April. Together we developed the idea of a support programme for the minimum basic care of the elderly: Poronto Bella. The project learning shows that with an annual contribution of 140 € per year, it is possible to help old people to achieve a little more security and dignity.