Save the Children Bangladesh

Dreaming to be a Teacher

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 with his pet goat

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 discussing schoolwork with his classmates

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.”

Tapping Into the Core

Profile Picture

Luzayo Nyirongo

Communications & Advocacy Officer,

Lilonge, Malawi

July 9, 2014

 

It’s often advised that when making a decision about a significant other, it’s what lies in the middle of that person that counts. “Look at her heart,” my mother would often tell me. I can say that I recently experienced the value of what lies in the middle, but in a different way.

Early in the morning on February 11th, 2014, I set off for school site visits with a team from Save the Children’s Zomba Sponsorship Program. Accompanying me were Lameck, a field officer, Micah, a Basic Education facilitator, and our seasoned Save the Children driver, Victor. I emphasize his experience because the routes we took were not for the faint-hearted. Not even ten minutes driving out of Zomba’s city centre and you begin to notice how rural its surroundings are. We passed miles of green fields of crops and an abundance of forested mountains in the horizon for about 30 minutes before reaching a narrow dirt road. This challenging, uneven road would lead us into Sub Traditional Authority Ntolawa, which lies in the heart of Senior Chief Chikowi.

2014-02-14_Success Based_Maureen taking a break from playing Pada with friends-7

The Sponsorship Program consists of 56 schools all in Senior Chief Chikowi, with roughly 120,000 students enrolled in them. It startles you how there is such high enrollment given what seems to be a sparse population density in your immediate surroundings. Within our roughly 40 minute drive to reaching the first school, you pass hmainly maize stalk, tobacco and coffee trees. People would go about their daily lives tilling in the fields or walking alongside the dirt road. Out in the distance or by the roadside you’d also occasionally see people standing by their isolated, spaced out homes. Other than a trading center we drove past in a nearby town, scarcely would you come across people in a large gathering. All of a sudden, as we entered the driveway to the first school, hundreds of children started appearing as we slowly made our way into the center of the school building blocks. The children brought us an immediate burst of energy and liveliness. It gave us quite a surprise given the very picturesque and reflective drive there.

I discovered something special in these schools. The teachers and the students possessed a drive within them unlike anything I had seen. At the first school, I had the chance to chat with the Principal, Edmand Kuwanda. He, along with 11 other staff, teaches a school of 1,428 students. The number is quite precise because he had just finished completing the student records that very day. He proudly pointed me towards a poster in his office written ‘707 boys and 721 girls’ to be exact. At the second school, the staff to student ratio was just as startling with about 10 teachers to 950 students. I couldn’t help but wonder how these understaffed schools managed to successfully teach that many students. It must be a very challenging task. With no doubt in mind though, the answer to how they managed was because of their determination to do so.

2014-02-14_Maureen portrait-headshot-31

I learned that one of the major reasons why schools are understaffed in rural areas is because of rural to urban migration. People often seek better lives in cities or in the other way around, do not migrate to rural areas to teach. As I was standing and watching the children play with Principal Kuwanda, something was telling me to ask him why he hadn’t also chosen to take that route. At that very moment I was taken aback as I watched him ponder, looking at the playground with a face of content. I no longer had the urge to ask. The satisfaction and joy in his expression explained why he had been teaching at this school for the past 10 years. There was definitely something he saw in those children and the community that gave him and many other teachers the passion to teach.

It was amazing to see the teacher-student relationship in both schools. There was a sense of trust between them almost. I could see that the teachers believed in the students, which drives them to stay on teaching at these schools. The students in turn reciprocate that belief in them by giving it their all. I heard great testimonies from students about how they have succeeded in school with the help of their teachers. In one case, an 11 year-old girl named Blandina told me with joy about how she can now read after being unable to for a while.

As we took off in the morning, driving along that jagged road, gazing in the distance, I wasn’t sure what to expect at our destinations. The positive stories I heard that day were a pleasant introduction to my first site visits with Save the Children’s Education Programs. People sometimes have a notion that knowledge and information ought to be transferred from the outside in when dealing with rural, hard to reach places. My experience however was different, the transfer of information occurred the other way around. In the heart of Chikowi, it was the people in the communities that encouraged me, educated me and gave me uplifting joy. Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Tell us how your sponsorship inspired you!

For the Love of Children: Volunteer Community School Teacher in Lufwanyama

Agnes Zalila, Sponsorship Manager

 Agnes Zalila, Sponsorship Manager

Save the Children, Zambia

November 18, 2013

One would think that for you to teach others you must have been to a teachers college, received a certificate or a diploma and are employed by either the government or private sector. This is an ideal situation. But this is not so for many “teachers” in developing countries where thousands of children need education, yet do not have enough qualified, trained teachers.

 

Giliart at a teacher trainingThat’s why community members like Gilliart Soft Kanguye decided to volunteer their time and be the teachers these children need. They spend 5 days a week teaching, in most cases working with over 100 children of different grade levels to prepare them for a better future. They are not paid, but give their service for the love of children and their community.

 

Gilliart is one of the 50 community members who volunteered to help provide education to the thousands of children in Lufwanyama who do not have the privilege of being in a government school. He went up to grade 9 in school, but would also love to upgrade his own education.

 

With the coming of the Sponsorship program, these volunteer teachers have begun to see hope and a Joseph Mbelneg with some the children he teacheslasting change for the future of the children they teach as they receive simple training to equip them to better provide an education to the children. In the past six months, Save the Children trained 36 teachers from Lufwanyama in the use of “New Break through to Literacy” (NBTL) and equipped these teachers with materials. The program has also indentified 12 teachers who will be attending training sessions so they can upgrade their teaching skills. The Sponsorship program is also in the process of providing library and other reading materials for the children in the 20 schools to promote literacy.

 

The community school teachers appreciate the support for the schools and look forward to further training. Asked why they spend so much time working for the community, Gillart says, “for the love of the children and to give them a better future and opportunity than I had.”

 

“With the coming of the Save the Children, I know we will excel and provide a better education for the children,” he continues. “I have begun to hear about other people who want to join in becoming volunteers as we are being trained and improving on our status and the community now respects us even more.” 

 

 

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.