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      Volume 2 Issue 17 | September 01, 2007 |


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From Bogra
Teaching for No Money

NGO development worker Hosne Dil Afroze Ruba has taken the initiative to teach kids English not only for no fee but she also provides the learning implements herself for families who cannot afford these things. For the last two years, she has dug into her own savings to teach English to fifty poor children in her own home. From 10 a.m till noon English, Bengali and other subjects are taught by her and two of her co-workers. From noon till 2 she teaches another 25 students in the same fashion six days a week. Neither Ruba nor her co-workers make any money off these efforts but rather they themselves pay the conveyance costs of the students.

In the house built with personal funds in Bogra district's Shahjahanpur Upazila she is running the pre-school Shuranjana Shishubagan and has undertaken other projects to alleviate poverty for women. Shuranjana was started as a non-government initiative on 7 January 2005 by Ruba and some of her friends. After deciding to help poor women generate income, they decided that a good move in this direction would be to help educate their children. The central focus would not be teaching Bangla but teaching English. Alongside English, Ruba would provide teaching in Bangla, mathematics and social sciences.

If one visits the Shuranjana office premises after 10 in the morning on any day besides Friday, one will hear children reciting some English poem or spelling out some sentence. This school does not have benches or chairs for the students. The pupils sit on the floor. The teachers have chairs but no desk. In spite of all this, the learning goes on and there is tremendous interest from the students.

Children like Riyamoni, 4, Rekha, 4, Mim, 5, Noorjahan, 5, and Md. Tofael, 9, never thought they would have the opportunity to study, let alone learn English for free. Students as well as guardians commend this effort and think this school will provide kids with a solid foundation in English which will lead to other good things.

Ruba says, because of lack of finances, she is unable to pay her staff even 1000 taka monthly. And yet, month after month the school is taking care of fifty children every day. Ruba says, the attendance rate for the English classes is about 80 percent and the children now have good pronunciation in English. The poor kids are doing well in Bangla and other subjects too.

Those who have helped out the cause of educating these children include former MP Golam Mohammad Shiraj of Bogra-5 and the General Secretary of the Red Crescent Society Bogra Unit Manzurul Haq Manzu.

Ruba says that if she can collect Tk. 3000 monthly she can keep her school up for 50 poor children. She is having difficulty with this though. No one has yet made any assurance of ensuring the schooling of these children.

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