Meet Bristy Rani. She’s eleven years old and lives in a small village in Southern Bangladesh. Bristy is thriving and enjoying life, doing well at school, playing with her friends, enjoying time with her family and dreaming of becoming a doctor when she grows up, so that she can serve her community. You can see a short video about Bristy here.
Bristy was two years old when cyclone Sidr devastated the Taltoti area where she lives. Life became exceptionally difficult for her family. FH started working in the area, and shortly afterwards Bristy’s mother, Babita, joined an FH learning and savings group where she learned quickly and rose to become cashier of the group. After that Babita trained to be a pre-school teacher and worked in an FH pre-school until 2012.
Babita developed a determination for her daughters to complete their education. She wants them to have opportunities that she didn’t have, and to set them up for success in the future.
Research shows that children who attend a pre-school have a greater attention span, learn more quickly and achieve higher grades when they move up to primary and secondary schools.
Not only that, but there is also a strong correlation between pre-school attendance and lifelong health, higher productivity and income levels. A child who does not attend pre-school in Bangladesh is likely to fall behind in primary school and will find it extremely difficult to catch up. FH wants to help to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by increasing early childhood development opportunities for ethnic minorities and by supporting families, and especially women, to reach their potential.
We have a very successful pre-school programme running in Bogra, among the Horijon (Hindu “untouchable”) community, where children are becoming the first generation in their families to succeed in school and university, and to be able to dream of leaving poverty behind.
FH have identified an area called Godagari, in the Rajshahi district North West of Dakha, where there is a very low adult literacy rate. It is only too common to find that in an area where there are large ethnic minority groups and poor access to pre-schools, the high school dropout rate is high, children have low self-esteem and there is a very wide gender disparity. Only 49% of children in this area are enrolled in a pre-school.
With the support of generous supporters, we have raised over £60,000 to finance the building of 20 pre-schools in Godagari.
Construction is in progress.
Children will be starting the new pre-schools imminently.
Watch this space for an update!
The children are the direct beneficiaries, but indirectly the benefits ripple outwards throughout communities. Parents become more involved with their children’s education, community meetings are facilitated to build awareness of the importance of pre-school education and, ultimately, communities are able to run their own pre-schools independently.