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    Volume 9 Issue 24| June 11, 2010|

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Making A Difference

Building A Better Tomorrow

Tasmiah Rahman

PSD provides its students with red and green uniforms.

The Programme for Sustainable Development (PSD) is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the development of the poor through different programmes such as education, training, skill development, micro-credit and advocacy of human rights. In 2001 Shireen Rahman established a one-of-a-kind school for the underprivileged children, most of whom live in the Maghbazar rail gate slum area.

The children are smartly dressed in green and red uniforms provided by the school. They are encouraged to study and develop their skills. Due to extreme poverty, these children were previously unable to afford any sort of education. Starting with just 20 children, they now teach more than 150, and the pupils of this school are fascinated by books and nursery rhymes as well as extracurricular activities. Students range from Pre-KG to Class V and the National Curriculum is followed. The dropout rate at PSD is almost zero; since most parents are domestic workers and rickshaw-pullers, some children are bound to migrate with their family.

PSD dreams of 'building a better tomorrow'. The most remarkable venture of PSD has been the Apanjan project, which was initiated in 2008. Any one can become a member of this project by donating TK 500 per month or TK 6000 per year to support the educational expenses of one child. You may choose the candidate from the PSD catalogue, name a scholarship and provide financial funding to become the Educational Parent of one child or more. Fifty-four children are now funded by educational parents. You can even get to know the child's Biological Parent/s to help them dream of a better life for their child.

Besides providing education, PSD actively ensures healthcare needs, such as health checkups and yearly dental checkups. Donors include Bangladesh Federation of University Women, Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) and Agami, a non-resident Bangladeshi organisation.

On May 21, the PSD organised an event in the BPWC (Business and Professional Women's Club) at Baily Road, to honour its donors and the educational parents of the children currently attending PSD School. Guest speakers included some well-known figures such as Aly Zaker, Sara Zaker, Dr. Marufi Khan (Principal of Syed Nazrul Islam College) and Zeenat Ara Bhuiyan (President of WFWP). The program was hosted by Shireen Rahman, founder and president of PSD.

At the function, Aly Zaker stated that an 'atmosphere of learning needs to be created in educational institutions'. He thanked the PSD for providing 'a forum for the biological parents and the educational parents to communicate and discuss their common interests to further their child's education. Sara Zaker praised the initiative taken by Rahman and her family for opening their own house to the children.

The students themselves performed a song named 'Shopno Moder Manush Hobo'. Advisors were awarded crests for their unrelenting dedication and the educational parents were given certificates in appreciation of their contributions.

Marofi Khan delivered a moving speech about Rahman's ongoing fight to help a cause. She thanked Shibnath Sarker, the General Secretary of PSD. Without him, this project would not be possible. Zeenat Ara Bhuiyan, a regular donor and Shahid Matiur Rahman, an advisor of the PSD was present at the occasion.

Rahman believes that education is the fundamental right of every child. She states that there are many children in different slums in Dhaka who have virtually zero access to education, but they can all be helped if we all came forward to lend a helping hand. Any support received will be valuable.

We have to make sure that these poverty-stricken children are educated and taken care of. They too have hopes and dreams. The PSD is trying to give these kids a happy childhood and is helping them to achieve those dreams. They are spreading a message of harmony and equal rights to gratify our humanitarian interests.

The PSD dreams of building a better tomorrow for our children so they can work towards a better future.



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