Bangladesh is not just a school for underprivileged children.
It is an institution that dedicates itself to make the lives
of children better by providing education, accommodation,
affection and much more. Utsho initiated its journey in
1993 with a mandate of helping underprivileged children.
They were basically urban children born to single mothers
or orphans. Single mothers, who often have no choice but
to find employment, either leave their children locked up
at home or at the mercy of the streets. For orphans, the
situation is worse as they are defenseless victims of child
traffickers and other unscrupulous people.
this particular segment of underprivileged children, Utsho
has set an example well worth emulating. For Utsho does
not simply impart lessons to its students. Through tireless
guidance and supervision, the children are taught to be
enterprising, responsible and independent. Utsho offers
an environment that promises a sanctuary from the usual
scenes of domestic abuse and violence and other forms of
privation. Children are encouraged to explore their academic
and extra curricular talents to enjoy their childhood to
the fullest. One of Utsho's 107 students, Rupa lost her
mother and then was deserted by her father at the age of
8. Although it took her quite sometime to recover from this
loss, in the four years at Utsho she has blossomed in every
way possible. She has not only excelled in studies and computer
training but her artistic talents have yielded her several
competitive prizes. Her biggest talent, though, is her desire
to learn and to work hard towards a bright future. She is
just one of the many children at Utsho who have shown that
all they really need is a chance.
opportunity to allow children like Rupa to live their dreams
has come forward through Utsho's 600-strong network of patrons
who contribute in various forms. Although Utsho has conceived
many fund--raising activities such as dinners and cultural
events, the lion's share of financial support is provided
by this diverse group of individuals and companies who provide
corporate and personal donations and other forms of assistance.
It is remarkable that in the ten years since Utsho's inception,
almost 90% of the funds raised have come from local sources.
As the executive director of Utsho, Mahbooba Mahmud says,
'Utsho is a symbol of the local community's strength. If
the people of the local community desire to, they can achieve
anything'. By providing a worthy, reliable institution,
Utsho has also provided its patrons a way to channel their
resources effectively and in the process, allow them to
meet their social commitment. It is the patrons' support
and encouragement that has enabled Utsho to, proliferate
its activities. Through the generosity of one of its patrons,
Utsho proudly lays claim to a 2-acre plot in Sreepur. Construction
on the new facility, a 250 residential complex, is expected
to begin soon and the school is scheduled to shift from
its current location to Sreepur in middle of 2005.
stands for many things compassion, sensitivity, strength
against diversity, fraternity but most importantly, the
opportunity to support a vision. For the student enrolled
in Utsho, it means the vision to enjoy childhood and fulfill