Barsha prepares herself for school, as the early morning dew collects on the leaves. Her mother Arti waves her off from the doorstep and gets ready for the rest of her day.
A common story
As a child, Arti saw her parents struggle to provide food.
"Education was never an option for us”, Arti explains, “so I never understood its importance”.
Arti never went to school, a reality for over 46% of women in Bangladesh over 25 years of age.
Arti’s first school
Arti’s first educational experience was the personal and group sessions conducted by the UPG programme. The conversations about the importance of education spurred a quiet revolution inside her that soon became an oath – “my children will be educated.”
The promise of education
Arti’s younger daughter Barsha studies in class 8 and her son Sumon lives in Dhaka, studying in college while teaching part time. Like her mother, Barsha and Sumon also grew up in ultra poverty, the only difference was that they were going to school.
“My father fractured his left arm a few years back which left him unemployed for months” says Barsha, “and my mother took up part-time maid jobs, and when there was nothing else she made mats with her sister-in-law. She was always busy during the day, but I heard her cry many nights - especially those ones where we had not been able to eat much, or when rain came through the roof.”
“But both my parents always made sure that my brother and I received proper education. They never compromised school.
With household poverty identified as the second most common reason for children leaving schools, the UPG programme in Bangladesh is playing a significant role in eradicating extreme poverty and contributing directly to the attainment of SDG 4 - inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
And, while school enrolment rates are easily quantifiable, the real achievement here is the mindset change that has been catalysed in families like Arti’s, who have made educating their children their absolute top priority.