Mental agony no more haunts childless Pizirul Alam, 72, for he now is father of 52 daughters.
With all his retirement benefits and inheritated paternal property, the former general manager of Uttara Bank at Chawradangi village in Jaldhaka upazila of Nilphamari set up a charitable home called “Chadmoni” in 1999 for orphan girls in his village home.
Alam is now a father to all the poor girls living under his care in this home and treat them like his very own.
He has not only given these orphan girls a place to live in but also provided them with education and training on different trades so that they can become self-reliant before they leave his shelter.
Over the last 17 years, Chadmoni, which stands on 1.10 acres of land, has become a refuge for poor girls. The home tries to teach the children to be self-reliant and fight social vices.
Alam said, “After my retirement in 1996, I felt more and more frustrated with the time on my hand. I had no real thing to do and also had to deal with the mental agony of not having any children of my own. My wife also felt the same way.”
“I spoke to my wife at length and we both decided to do something about it and that is how Chadmoni was born in 1999. Over the course of time, this venture grew and at present provides a home to 52 girls all studying in schools and colleges now," he added.
Alam's wife Motahara passed away in 2010 and since then he has been running the shelter home single-handedly.
Lipsi Aktar Ruby, studying for her BA degree, and Mofeza Begum, studying HSC at Jaldhaka Degree College, expressed how they dream of becoming independent one day after all the help and inspiration they got from Alam as a father.
One success story of the home is Jesmin Aktar Nipa who completed her MSS degree from National University. She works at the National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital in Dhaka.
She said she came to the home at age of nine and her “Abba” (Alam) admitted her in class-IV at the local school. She stayed there for long 16 years and left after completing her MSS degree.
The home runs under Alam's direct supervision. He wakes his daughters early in the morning every day so that they can offer Fazr prayers and study until around 8:30am before going to schools and colleges.
“At present, I need around Tk 60,000 to Tk 70,000 to run the home. This includes the cost of their training,” Alam said.
Visiting Chadmoni on a Saturday afternoon, this correspondent found the home equipped with a library of 500 books, a skill developing training centre, a mini museum containing goods from olden days, a cultural center and an indoor games room.
Girls were seen engaged in reading books in the library, or attending training on sewing and embroidery at the training center.
Alam said he had spent all his retirement benefits, Tk 20 lakh, and also proceeds of selling 50 bighas of his inherited land, another Tk 20 lakh, to set up the home. Now some of his former bank colleagues and wealthy relatives and a few unnamed donors help him run the place.
The girls of Chadmoni also run a mobile library on a rickshaw van twice a week and run a campaign against
child marriage and dowry. Over the last five years, they have been able to prevent around 100 child marriages in surrounding villages.
Chairman of Dinajpur Education Board Ahmed Hossain visited Chadmoni home recently after hearing about its success. Other noted visitors to the place include Education Secretary Sahidul Islam, Editor of the daily Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman, and former cabinet secretary Saiful Islam. They appreciated Alam's efforts.
UNO of Jaldhaka Rasedul Huq Prodhan said he had visited Chadmoni and was very pleased to see its success.
“Pizurul Alam is a kind-hearted man and we would like to reward him soon,” he said.