By: Md. Hasan Iqbal, Deputy Manager–Sponsorship Communications and Data Quality
Delwar dreams of becoming a teacher one day in his village in the Meherpur district, Bangladesh. The 14-year-old ninth grader loves reading books and spending time with friends, his two brothers and his mother, Momotaz, who takes care of the family. Up until just a few short years ago, Delwar’s dream would be considered far-fetched at best. His early years were full of hardship. His father worked very hard in the village selling kitchen utensils, but as the only earning member of the family, that was not enough to meet basic needs. So he moved abroad to work as a construction worker where he could earn more.
“I have passed my childhood with misery. I did not have a joyful time when I was small,” recalls Delwar. Due to malnutrition, he could not walk or talk properly. The family found it difficult to eat well three times daily, could not find adequate medical care and his physical growth was slow. His future looked very bleak.
However, thanks to sponsorship, in 2013 Delwar was able to enroll in school through the early learners program, which played a vital role in improving his circumstances. It was through this program that he learned many crucial skills, including proper hygiene like hand washing before and after meals, and visits to the lavatory. He learned reading, counting and writing through sponsorship, and his speech improved where he could talk easily to his friends, family members, teachers and neighbors.
Delwar soon moved up to primary school and was selected as a Sponsorship Child Leader to a group of schoolchildren from his neighborhood. He received training to help Save the Children’s Field Workers learn more about other families in the community, sharing important updates regarding sicknesses and accidents with Save the Children staff who could provide necessary assistance. Nominated as a “Little Doctor,” Delwar learned how to use first aid kits — knowledge that he shared with his classmates, increasing awareness of correct health and hygiene habits.
In addition, he plays another important role in his community – regularly making home visits to students who irregularly attend school and encouraging their families to send them. “It has become a regular task or habit of mine to take the irregular students with me to school,” he proudly boasts.
Delwar is now on track to become the teacher he dreamed about and now that Save the Children’s work in Meherpur is winding down, he’s grateful for all sponsorship has done for him. “Although Save the Children will leave us, our learnings, good practices, manners, awareness on education, health and hygiene will remain with us for long time. Many thanks to my friend Kim Moonjeong for her support for many children in our community.”