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Off the pitch: England U19 cricketers visit school for underprivileged children in Bangladesh

England Under19 Cricket Team visited Underprivileged Children's Educational Programme (UCEP) to see how UKaid is changing lives of underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

Fresh from qualifying for the quarter-finals of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, the England under-19s team visited Mirpur Technical School in Dhaka today (Thursday 4 February) to see how the UK aid funded Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programme (UCEP) has helped thousands of children from some of the poorest communities in Bangladesh to access education, skills training and employment.

To date, UK aid support to UCEP has allowed over 45,000 urban working children (49 percent girls) to undergo primary education, provided skills training to more than 13,000 students (40 percent girls), and found employment through the programme for more than 90 percent of the graduates.

Taking a break from preparations for their quarter-final clash against Sri Lanka the players met with students, shared stories and experiences and took part in an interactive session at UCEP’s Institute of Science & Technology in Mirpur. In addition, they spoke to teachers about how they address the needs of the children and provide them with basic education, vocational skills and help them to find jobs.

Speaking after the visit today, England under-19s captain, Brad Taylor, said:

“We have all really enjoyed the visit to Mirpur Technical School today. Listening to the stories told by the students, hearing about some of the experiences that they have had, and learning about the barriers that they face on a daily basis has been truly inspirational, and I am certain that all of the players will take a lot away from the day.

“The work that UCEP does to help support thousands of Bangladeshi children every day is exceptional, and demonstrates the real impact that UK aid can have overseas. It has been a very interactive and thought-provoking afternoon, and I hope that by sharing our own experiences we have in turn helped to inspire and encourage the students at the school.”

ECB Chief Executive, Tom Harrison, added:

“I’m really pleased that members of the England under-19s team have had the opportunity to see the Underprivileged Children’s Education Programme in action today. This is a superb programme, which makes a significant difference to the lives of Bangladeshi children and youth.

“The England under-19s team are brilliant role models for young children both in England and around the world, and I am sure that the visit, which was organised in conjunction with the British High Commission in Dhaka, has been a positive experience for both the players and the students involved.”

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Alison Blake, added:

‘The visit of the England U19 cricket team to the UK aid funded Mirpur Technical School today demonstrates the deep people to people ties that exist between our two countries. I am delighted that the England U19 cricketers were able to connect with young people from Bangladesh – both groups are inspirational role models, and have worked hard to get to where they are today.

The UK is a long standing partner of Bangladesh. Thousands of young Bangladeshi students from poor backgrounds, including girls, have better employment opportunities through the skills and vocational training offered at the school. UK aid has helped to make this difference to people’s lives.’

The England under-19s will next be in action when they take on Sri Lanka in their quarter-final match of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup on Sunday 7 February at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.

Notes to editors

The new UK Aid Strategy has reconfirmed the UK Government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development assistance and we are the only G7 country to meet this target. We invest heavily in Bangladesh’s development, spending £185m last year. Support over the last 5 years has, amongst other things, helped lift 1.5 m Bangladeshi citizens out of extreme poverty, provided access to safe water for 1.3m people, helped 500,000 women give birth safely and ensured that 500,000 boys and girls complete primary school.

About UCEP:

The Underprivileged Children’s Education Programme is a UK aid funded project, which focuses on working children in slums who dropped out of school. It is an education and skills programme that condenses eight years of general education into four and half years and combines it with innovative market oriented skills training and employment development, in areas such as mechanics, sewing and electronics.

UCEP’s education interventions include teacher training, curriculum development, provision of supplementary materials, training equipment and necessary infrastructure support. It provides unique market driven skills training, revisiting and revising the technical curriculum according to the needs of the employers, and securing employment for students at the end of their training. This enables the young people to have a brighter future with the right interventions.

For further information: http://www.ucepbd.org/

About the UK aid programme in Bangladesh:

  • Programme period: Programme has extended till June 2016
  • Funding: £24.6 million over four and half years

Expected results of the programme:

  • 38,000 children graduate from Grade V (50% girls)
  • 34,500 children graduate from Grade VIII (50% girls)
  • 23,000 children graduate from technical schools (45% girls), including 900 with Secondary School Certificates (SSC).
  • 90% of the TE graduates (44% girls) are employed who in turn will assist to lift 112,000 people out of poverty.

For further information: https://www.gov.uk/world/Bangladesh, @UKinBangladesh, @DFID_UK