READ THE STORY OF SHIBPUR’S SCHOOL
In February, 2017 the PEACE Foundation USA received an exciting offer. TX (Tzu Xing) Foundation in Taiwan, which has been granting funds to build schools all over the world in poor and underserved areas, asked whether our organization would be interested in undertaking such a project. The answer was a resounding YES.
Syed Hassan, President of the PEACE Foundation, USA, immediately contacted associates in the village and in Dhaka to see whether construction of such a school would be feasible. With the enthusiastic help and cooperation of local officials, Parliamentarians in Dhaka, and the WARBE Development Foundation, a prestigious NGO in Bangladesh, groundbreaking and construction began in June 2017 on donated land.
External and internal; painting and waterproofing details are presently being completed.
The monsoons in 2017 were exceptionally strong and destructive, so construction had to be abandoned during the worst of the heavy floods, but under Mr. Hassan’s personal oversight, the school was 95% completed by the end of January 2018. Sanitation (three bathrooms on each of two floors) and electricity have been installed, together with a water pump which delivers clean water to the school and is also being used as a highly accessible source by the entire village. There remain only external and internal painting and waterproofing details to be completed.
On February 2, 2018, to coordinate with the official school calendar of Bangladesh, the first classes began.
THE SCHOOL IN SHIBPUR
The school is conceived as a center of community life. It is a multi-purpose institution combining pre-school, kindergarten and primary school with vocational training in sewing, block printing and computer literacy and technology. The elementary school (grades 1-5) follows the national curriculum established for Bangladesh primary schools. Classes in literacy, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship will also be offered for older trainees.
The building has two floors, and the first floor (six rooms, including bathroom facilities for males, females and staff) is already in use. One room is being used as an office/staff room. Another room is being used as a classroom for forty pre-school children, ranging in age from three to five years old, in daily attendance. Once the Foundation has enough money, the program will expand into a second room. Sewing classes for 25 women and girls have begun in a third room, using nine sewing machines in two-hour shifts. As soon as the Foundation can afford more equipment and furniture, the classes will expand into additional rooms. We already have 260 applications to select from!
MEET OUR STAFF
Two teachers for the pre-school children, one of them a graduate of a previous educational program in the village and the other a member of Oxfam living in the village, are working for an honorarium which has been set aside for the next three months until another source of compensation is found. One of the teachers is a Dalit (Hindu, lowest caste). The local village elder is one of the administrators and is also doing community outreach. Twice a month an official who will oversee and coordinate the programs will visit the school and make sure everything is on track. Two guards have been hired, one during the day and one during the night, to oversee the building, provide safety, security and order, and supervise movement into and out of the building. The second floor is not yet functional, needing furniture and equipment, for which the PEACE Foundation will have to raise funds. This floor will house additional primary school classes, which will be added gradually, and the computer programs, for which there is already intense interest. Reactions have been very positive in the community, and everyone is eager to make the school a success on all levels.
Description of the picture from left to right
- Nahida Pervin Mukta, Trainer/Teacher
- Afsara Akhter Trainer/ Teacher
- Haidar Ali, Community organizer/ Village Elder.
- Sraboni Rani Das, Teacher.
- (Front) Shirina Akhter, Teacher
- (Back) Salim Sadik Malek, PF Finance Director.
- Shuwardhy Hossain, PF Secretary General/Community Organiz
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
We are asking urgently for your help. We need funds to buy computers and software, sewing machines, furniture, including desks, chairs and benches, books, pencils, paper, and we need to pay the expenses of running the school.
WORK WITH US FOR CHANGE!
The PEACE Foundation is proud of its achievements in creating this building in record time and getting a program started which will be a focal point of village life with the potential to change many things for the better. The program as envisioned fulfills several of the Sustainable Development Goals, including the ones on alleviating poverty (1), providing quality education (4), advancing gender equality (5), providing clean water and sanitation (6), providing good jobs and economic growth (8), fostering innovation (9), and creating harmonious and diverse communities (16), among others. Once the basic programs are up and running, the school is large enough to expand its offerings and become a powerful community center fostering innovation and change for the entire village.