Like a Diamond in the Sky
Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
For some, the sky is the limit! Like a glowing diamond in the sky, there are some people who come and touch our hearts in such a manner that we remain forever grateful to them. We, as a nation, believe in them and rely on these individuals who not only think of change but work towards bringing a transformation for the entire country. These individuals are none other than the unconquerable warriors of our country who, despite the barriers of extreme poverty, have paved their way into the road of success. Prothom Alo Trust in association with BRAC Bank Ltd has taken the initiative to stand next to these young individuals who have successfully excelled in their SSC (Secondary School Certificate) examination and HSC (Higher Secondary School Certificate) examination and proven themselves to be the nation builders of tomorrow's Bangladesh. Prothom Alo has named them 'Adamya Medhabi' or indomitable talents, because of their achievements and spirit.
The nation builders of tomorrow's Bangladesh
These SSC and HSC students have done outstandingly well in their board examinations and have received GPA 5.0 despite the fact that they come from some of the most underprivileged backgrounds. To help them fulfil their dreams of a glorious future for our country, Prothom Alo Trust, with its partner companies and banks, have set up a scholarship scheme to support these students. Since their inception in 2007, they have been funding only a small number of students and have expanded their programme further to accommodate more students over the years. Till date, they have sponsored 293 students and since 2010, they have upgraded their activity till graduation and masters.
The selections of these students are made on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, gender and physical disability. The correspondents of Bishal Bangla, a section of the Prothom Alo newspaper, travel all over the country and select these students. They try to keep a balance between male and female students. After selection, the students are asked to open a bank account in their own areas and Prothom Alo trust prepares a demand draft (DD) and sends the funds accordingly, every month. These students come from the fringes of the society and have lived a substantial amount of their life in extreme poverty without food, shelter and exposed to brutal diseases. Some of them are handicapped or blind, but no barrier has stopped them from enlightening themselves for the sake of others. They do not want to benefit themselves in the long run but wish to go back to their roots and help dissolve the problems there.
Women empowerment is an important issue for developement.
Those who have already received GPA 5.0 in their SSC examination will get a scholarship of 1500 Tk as a monthly allowance, initially for two years and for the first month, 2500 Tk as a one time allowance. In addition to that, they receive 3000 Tk as reception allowance. For those students who continue to produce excellent results in their HSC board examination will receive a scholarship of 2000 Tk per month and one time allowance of 10,000 Tk which will provide for their admission and other costs. Alongside, they also receive a dress allowance of 3000 Tk.
The programme has grown over the years and this year around 90 students were given scholarships based on their performance. For students who have completed their HSC examination, with an exceptional academic record, also received a gold medal and their scholarship scheme is designed in such a manner that it will enable them to pursue a higher education as well. This is a five year scheme which allows students to study in any field they wish to, particularly Architecture and Medicinal Science subjects which take around five years in total to complete. For some students, who can afford to accelerate through undergraduate studies within a short span of three years, can opt for a Master's degree of two years as well. At times, even a four year Bachelor's degree and a one year Master's programme can be a suitable combination for some of these students.
Such a platform has opened up doors of opportunities for these students. While some wish to become teachers, others boldly state that they want to become law makers. On this note, Hasna Hena, a student with a Commerce background, who recently finished her SSC examination from Mymensingh, wants to become a banker one day. “I want to make developments in the banking sector. At current, there are a lot of issues, like corruption in the banking sector which really worries us. I want to reduce these problems and bring modifications in this field.”
While one wants to see developments in one sector, others want to bring change in the field of education and science. Serity Moni Eva, another student of SSC from the field of Arts from Panchagarh has a different vision. Being brought up without parents, under the custody of her paternal uncle and aunt, she is accustomed to see the cruel face of life. Her respect for her guardians is enormous and they have encouraged her through the toughest days. She has firm faith in women empowerment and wants to take Bangladesh a notch higher. She states, “The area I come from has a low literacy rate. Most of the people there are uneducated. I want to utilise this scholarship to go further in life and become educated, so that I can go back to my village and teach those who cannot afford a proper education. I wish to stand next to those women, who are forced into marriage because of their incapability to stand on their own two feet due to lack of education.”
Expressing eagerness towards education and transformation of the country.
Additionally Shamoli Rani Das, another student who received GPA 5.0 in her SSC from Science states, “I come from an extremely poor family. I lost my parents at a very young age and have learnt to take care of myself. I hope to become a doctor one day because it is necessary for women to make developments in the field of science. I want to become a doctor and help find prevention for incurable diseases.”
Further on, remaining confident in oneself and continuing education with the spirit and dedication is no easy job. To prove their worth, some of the HSC candidates who received the scholarship two years ago for their performance in the SSC examination have done it again. With a consistent result this year, they have shown that they can take our country to greater heights. Awlad Husen, a student who recently finished his HSC in Science from Shunamganj aspires to become a doctor. His reasons are not ordinary as he explains the situation in his village and expresses his concern about the existing conditions on matters of public health. Although, he comes from a farming family where his father earns his income by working in the fields owned by other people, he is not concerned in helping his family. Rather, Husen wants changes in the society he lives in. He states, “Around 80% of the people in my locality lack nutrition. They cannot avail a healthy diet because of their unawareness. I want to work in this area and create a healthy diet plan which is economical for farming households. Another reason I want to study medicine is because, there are only a handful of health care centres and good doctors in my area. Most of the time, people have to travel to Dhaka for health care which is difficult because Dhaka is expensive for those of us who come from rural areas.”
Md Milon Hossain, another student of Science who just finished his HSC from Nator and could successfully grasp onto the scholarship says, “My mother is a domestic worker and I could never dream of a future without this platform. There is a doctor in my village, who is my role model. I want to be like him and wish to study medicine and cardiology so that I can come to the rescue of those, who come from a similar background as mine.”
Shredding the light of education despite of having physical disability.
While the men express their interest in medicine, the women are not lagging behind either. Barsharani Bina, a student of Arts from Rangpur was an average student until she was in grade VI. She realised that she had to work hard to come foreword in life. So, in grade VII, she stood first in her final exam and had kept her performance consistent ever since. In her college, Radharani Mohila College in Kishoreganj, Nilphamari district, she is the first one to receive a GPA 5.0. She expresses her joy by stating, “No one has created the record I have in my college. I want to study English or Public Administration in Dhaka University and want to become a teacher one day. My sisters could not receive education because of our condition. There are several women like them who suffer each year due to poverty and are married off at an early age. I want to change this existing ideology and wish to establish a platform for women to be educated which in turn will result in empowerment of women.”
The enthusiastic youth motivated to pursuit the journey of a brighter future.
The modest aim is to honour the courage of these young individuals of the society who have braved sheer poverty and have represented themselves to be the true citizens of Bangladesh. With their motivation to cross miles before they sleep and the support of organisations and philanthropists of the society, the country is bound to see light at the end of a dark tunnel.