Drives rickshaw to complete study
To see him as he pedals down the road, Russel Akram, 18, from Kaikhali village in Satkhira's Shyamnagar upazila, looks like any young rickshaw driver. But Russel is a second year Higher School Certificate candidate at Jessore MM College. Like any rickshaw driver, he drives a rickshaw for a livelihood. He also relies on the income for his education, to buy books and pens.
“Driving a rickshaw is very difficult but I will give as much labour for my family as I can,” he says, “and I will continue to study at any cost. I had thought to work as a tutor for younger students but none of their families will accept me as a teacher and if they do, they won't pay much. It's better to drive a rickshaw. I can earn up to Tk 200 per day.”
From a broken home, Russel resided from class six at an orphanage. He currently rents accommodation in Jessore town, living with his frail grandparents and his younger brother and sister, all of whom he supports as the sole breadwinner. Russel's mother and father are each living elsewhere. He has been driving rickshaws since childhood.
Russel previously studied at the Muslim Academy in Jessore. He passed his Junior School Certificate with a grade of 4.69 and his Secondary School Certificate with a grade of 4.33.
“I do not know how much adversity I will have to face or how many obstacles will need to be overcome,” he says. “I don't know whether I will win this fight! But I dream of doing something good for the country so I must complete my studies.”