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England under-19s cricket team visits Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programme (UCEP) to see the impact of UK aid in Bangladesh

2Fresh 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.