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Education is the major component to overcoming poverty in developing countries such as Bangladesh, though it may take a long time. People of these counties have not been given opportunities to receive education. In the case of Bangladesh, the literacy rate is only 47.5% (2007). From the future view point of country, primary education for children is very important. The 2nd Millennium Development Goal of United Nations is: “To achieve universal primary education; to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.”
IRFF-Bangladesh has been maintaining two primary schools in two remote villages near the capital city of Dhaka for more than 15 years. Our schools have given opportunities to study to the village children who had no school to learn nearby. Some highlights of our schools:
1. During this year, approximately 600 village children were given the chance to study from class one to class five in the two schools.
2. The number of students who passed the annual examinations was over 95% this year.
3. Every year, a few alumni have passed the National Scholarship Examination by District Government and our alumni have got better marks than other school alumni in the high schools. The Local Chairman made note of this point at our graduation ceremony.
4. One of our challenges is to make children complete primary school and send them to secondary school. Typical of underprivileged villages, students gradually drop out of school as they have to help work in the field or with household affairs for their families. As countermeasures, we have provided loans to the students’ mothers who need a means of generating income and have offered scholarships to students who are motivated to continue their education in secondary school. These countermeasures were so effective that the guardians encouraged their children to continue studying and the attendance rate of our students in secondary school has been increasing. Our two IRFF schools are now a center of childhood education in the villages.
5. From our remote village, some students go to college and university now, and some of them teach voluntarily at our school during their vacation.
6. Our school teachers are all college-graduated and received our teacher training how to teach.
7. On May 22nd, Dhaka university students performed Aesop’s Fables at our village school. Our students were very interested in and moved by the performance. After songs and games, volunteer students painted the school desks and chairs, and learned the joy of serving others.
Tetsuya Amana & Md. Humayun Kabir
Bangladesh, June 24, 2009