The way forward is universal education.
Bangladesh's literacy rate has soared over the last decade to reach an all-time high of 72.6% in 2018.
Just 10 years ago, in a UN Global Monitoring Report, Bangladesh was labelled a country with 'significant' literary challenges, ranking among the bottom ten on almost all counts - adult, youth and gender literacy rates.
Today, concern over the country's literacy rate has transformed into admiration and praise. Bangladesh's Human Assets Index - which measures indicators for education and health - will allow the country to shake off its 'least developed country' status and assume the mantle of a 'developed country' by 2024.
Education is critical in breaking the cycle of hardship and poverty. Here at FIF we are always thinking about what exactly it will take for sweatshops to be eradicated. It is a frustrating and seemingly futile thought exercise because the roots of the problem grow deep and tangled - enterprises, supply chains, millions of employees, factories, etc.
However, in this tangled web, there is one key factor that will always stand out: education. Education is the external force that breaks the oppression of the status quo.
The JAAGO Foundation has been working to improve access to free education for all children across Bangladesh.
Here are 5 ways they have contributed to Bangladesh's soaring literacy rates:
1. JAAGO runs 3 traditional, physical schools which welcome more than 1150 children who are being taught an English curriculum.
2. Online schools. In order to overcome inaccessibility and a lack of educators in rural areas, JAAGO has established 9 online schools throughout the country. Educators conduct live lessons from a centre in Dhaka. On site, two facilitators engage with the children and ensure they are participating during lessons.
3. Psychological support. If a child is absent more than 3 times in a row, school coordinators are dispatched to determine if there is a problem. This is especially critical when families decide to withdraw their daughters from schools.
4. JAAGO works hard to eradicate the obstacles that girls face in their pursuit of an education and in JAAGO schools, there is an equal enrolment of male and female students.
5. JAAGO received the UNESCO award for innovation in education in 2017.