Volume 5 Issue 34| December 03, 2011|


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Behind The Scene


A Day Labour Builds Primary School

Bangladesh is a country where the mass population is yet to be properly educated, but with high enrollment rates at the bottom layers of education, that is set to change in coming decades. There is no question as to the pertinence of education, in its ability to enlighten and open minds. Maybe that's why even a day labour such as Sonaton Chandro Roy would go as far as donating more than half his land to build a primary school in his village; a school that currently accommodates 164 students.

S Dilip Roy

Sonaton Chandro Roy works as a chatal labour at the village Poschim Boruya of Kulaghat union in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila. He may be only a day labour, but he has donated 33 decimals of land for building a primary school in the village. Now many children have a school where they can be educated.

Sonaton only owned 51 decimals of land, out of which, he donated 33 decimals in January 2006. The school was named Poschim Boruya Non-Government Primary School. The land was registered in the name of the school in December 2009 and the school received academic recognition in January 2010. Firstly the school was run in a straw-thatched room. In March of this year, the first tin-shed room for the school was constructed. At the moment, four teachers teach 164 students of the school.

Sonaton Chandro Roy

Headmistress of the school Sulota Rani Roy said that there were no educational institution within a three kilometer radius of the village Poschim Boruya, as a result, most of the children didn't get the chance to go to school. The current scenario is completely different, thanks to Sonaton Chandro Roy. “Now, all the children at Poschim Boruya village study in the school. All the teachers work as volunteers. We hope that one day the school will be taken under the government's wing,” she added. Beauty Rahman, President of the School Management Committee informed that the committee is communicating with the authority concerned for nationalizing the school.

Sonaton Chandro Roy, 42, son of late Gobordhon Chandro Roy, leads a family of four through earning as a day labour. His wife Aroti Rani Roy is a housewife. His two sons Susanto Chandro Roy, 13, reads in class eight at Noyarhat High School at Saptana Village and Antor Chandro Roy, 8, reads in class three at the school built on what used to be his father's land. His only the daughter Sohagi Rani was married a year ago. Sonaton's wife Aroti Rani said that she was proud of her husband's gesture. Donating 33 decimals of land was a tremendous contribution, specially given the modest condition of the family. Sonaton being only a day labour has made a significant contribution to improve the access to education where no rich families came forward. Sonaton's children are equally proud of their father as well.

Children of poor families study at the school
Day labours at work

When talking to Sonaton about why he donated land to build a school, he became teary-eyed. He said that he never had a school to study in his native Poschim Boruya village. He couldn't bear the thought of so many other children growing up with the same loss in this village. He wanted them to be lifted out of the darkness of ignorance. He tried to encourage certain rich families to set up a school, but no one was interested. He decided to donate the land himself and then shared his intentions in 2006 with some day labours in the village. Together they raised some money amongst themselves to build a straw room. They didn't have enough money to register the school right away, so they had to save till 2009 and then applied for registration. The school became registered in 2009. “It is our dream that our village Poschim Boruya will be turned to an ideal village in the light of education,” Sonaton said. Even today, Sonaton and a few other labours donate small amounts of money to keep the school running.

The monitoring officer of Lalmonirhat District Primary Education Abu Bakkor Siddique said, “It is really a rare and noble feat that a day labour has built a primary school. Sonaton Chandro Roy has become truly an example.”

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