Otherwise an ordinary couple, Faruk Hossain and Sabera Akter have been doing a laudable job, working to prevent dropout at schools and to provide literacy to elderly people for the last 10 years.
Faruk Hossain, hailing from Kashimpur (Malipukur) village under Dinajpur Sadar upazila, received “Best Social Worker” award under 'Education Enthusiast' category, from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 13, for his role in preventing dropout of primary school children.
Faruk distributes education materials including notebooks, pen and pencils among the students while his wife Sabera Akter teaches elderly people at her home.
Faruk, who studied up to Class VIII, got a job as assistant of a truck driver at Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) in 2017, after the death of his father, who was a driver of the government-run organisation.
He is now posted in Rangpur.
Due to family hardship, Faruk dropped out of school in 2002 when he was a student of Class VIII and took job at a jute bag shop in Dinajpur town.
“In 2007, I started distributing learning materials among underprivileged school students at different places of Dinajpur and other districts so that the poor children don't have to face dropout like me,” said Faruk while talking to this correspondent a few days ago.
“I spend one-fourth of my earning to encourage poor children to continue schooling,” he said.
His wife Sabera Akter runs an informal school at their home, where elderly people, both male and female, are taught basic literacy.
“The class starts at 2:30pm and continues till evening every day. Now 40 people are attending my school,” said Sabera.
“The school of Sabera gave me the opportunity to learn how to read and write at this age. She gives lessons and provides books and other learning materials for free,” said 65-year-old Aklima, a resident of the village.
Sabera, who passed HSC after her marriage, is now doing Bachelor of Agricultural Education under Bangladesh Open University.
“During school hours in April, 2017, Faruk came to this school and distributed 110 notebooks among the students. He again distributed notebooks at the school in 2018,” said Jalal Uddin, headmaster of Kashimpur Government Primary School in Dinajpur Sadar upazila.
Md Minhaz Reza Shuvo, a Class V student of the school, said he got notebooks from Faruk twice.
“I have so far visited around 200 schools and gave learning materials to poor students, after need assessment by the headmasters and other teachers. My efforts to prevent dropout of students will continue,” said Faruk.