A total of 2,518 needy, meritorious students from all over the country were awarded scholarships by Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd in a gala programme in the capital yesterday.
The scholarship amount disbursed this year summed up to Tk 102 crore, and is meant for tertiary education. This is the eighth phase of scholarship distribution by the bank.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith present at the ceremony encouraged all corporate bodies to adopt similar projects to give back to the society.
Helping students is one way to make sure that the impacts of the money spent go a long way, said Gerben de Jong, ambassador of the Netherlands.
"At least 90 percent of the scholarships are given to rural students, while girls received a 50 percent share," said Sayem Ahmed, chairman, executive committee of the DBBL board.
Suraiya, from Satkhira, was one of the awardees present at the ceremony in Shaheed Suhrawardy Indoor Stadium at Mirpur.
The daughter of a farm labourer, Suraiya's favourite book is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
"I want to study English for graduation. We never got many English books in my village, I look forward to getting a chance to read more," she said.
Suraiya has qualified for admission to Dhaka University but her major was not declared yet.
"Although I am hoping for English, I know that the smart thing for me to do would be to sit for Bangladesh Civil Service exams afterwards and get a stable job. I need to support my family. How long can I let my father work as a labourer?" she said.
The father of Fatema Jannat, who is also a day labourer, said, "I would not have been able to pay for her university education. Now I can dream that one day she can hold a PhD."
Fatema wants to be a lawyer working on women's rights. "I come from a very remote village in Jhenidah. The situation of women's rights there is deplorable. The women could do with a female lawyer who understands them," she said.
Her classmate Jamila Khatun was also awarded the scholarship and together, the two of them are already making plans of doing social work.
The scholarship will support all academic years of their graduate-level education with a monthly grant of Tk 2,500 and an annual grant of Tk 5,000 for books and Tk 1,000 for clothing.
Rujina Begum was born to a rickshaw-puller's family in Chakaria of Cox's Bazar, and knows poverty inside out.
"I know that I can get nowhere without education. My father knows that too. He wants me to go for post-graduation as well," she said.
This girl has led a sheltered conservative life in a madrasa for girls but now wants to study economics and be a banker when she can interact with the outside world.