More than a place of learning | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 06, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 06, 2018

More than a place of learning

Abinta Kabir was one of the 22 hostages killed at the terrorist attack at Holey Artisan Bakery, two years ago now. Only 19 years old and an undergraduate student in the US, she wanted to return to Bangladesh to open an NGO for those less fortunate than her, according to her family. While her life was cut short, her family have carried forward her unrealised aspirations through establishing the Abinta Kabir Foundation. “I believe I have responsibility towards those who are less fortunate and don't have the same luxuries as I am grateful to have. Those who are fortunate enough in life should help those in need in order to make their lives better,” she is quoted as saying.

The Abinta Kabir Foundation started a school in Vatara, Dhaka. Started last year, the 64 students of the all-girls school are largely from underprivileged families living in the nearby slums. They study in small classes of 16. For now, the school has four classes—from pre-kindergarten to the second grade. The ambience and internal infrastructure resemble that of an IB-standard school, says manager at the Abinta Foundation, Shariful Islam. “It was Abinta's dream that girls from underprivileged families get the opportunity to attend the kind of school she grew up in to develop their potential.”

In the short time the school has been in operation, it has become a home to most of its students. Husna Akter, one of the first students of the school, has a special place in her heart for the school which was not just a place of learning for her. A year into her time at the school, Husna's father, Muhammad Kashem, took the decision to move the family back to their village in Netrakona. Husna was devastated by the news that she might have to drop out of the school.

The school tried to convince Husna's parents but to no avail. “We have around 95 percent attendance,” says Islam, and “she would have been the first one to drop out of the school.” But Husna could not adjust back in her village and did not like the local school. After much pleading with her parents to send her back to her school in Dhaka, Husna's father gave in and sent her back to the city where she could stay with her older sister and continue on at the Abinta Kabir Foundation School.

— Star Weekend Desk

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