Ek Takay Shikkha, a social organisation, has been in operation since 2017 with a mission to ensure that one's financial condition does not restrict them from acquiring an education. It started in July 2017, when a group of Chittagong University students were hanging out, and some underprivileged children by the street asked them for money. The students realised that there were children around them who could not afford an education due to the financial limitations of their families. In order to change things, they took matters into their own hands, and started teaching those underprivileged children from the very next day. Eventually, they bought school supplies for the children and enrolled them at proper schools.
The founding members of Ek Takay Shikkha include Md Rizuan, Abdullah Md Saeed Safi, Md Hamidur Rashid Sohel, Md Istiak Azam, Nishat Soultana Chy, Bibi Asma, Md Zobaer Hossen, Bibi Mariam Snigdha, Tarannum Jamal, Shihab Jahin, Md Riaz Hossain, Md Akram Hossen, Mst Jannatun Naima, Syed Md Al Irfan, Morshedul Islam Rifat, MD Shamsudoha Shourov, Md Nayeem Uddin Bhuiyan, Md Safayet Ullah, Md Omar Kaisar, Nowrin Sultana, Humaira Tasrin Tania and Md Nurul Amin Khokon.
Md Rizuan, the Founder and President of Ek Takay Shikkha, came up with the idea that even if each person donates one taka daily, with a large enough group of contributors, they could ensure the education of several underprivileged children.
With the motto "Give one taka daily, change Bangladesh gradually", Ek Takay Shikkha has now grown into an organisation with around 2,000 registered members and more than 200 active members and ambassadors. The organisation's team has helped around 4,000 children so far.
Ek Takay Shikkha's team currently operates in Feni, Cox's Bazar, Patuakhali, and Barishal, but they hope to spread their initiatives across all 64 districts of Bangladesh. They started with renting a room in Chattogram, where volunteers ran academic classes and co-curricular activities for the children. "One taka may seem insignificant, but it makes a difference for a student in accomplishing their dreams," says Md Mobassherul Azim, an active member of the organisation.
However, in the initial days, these children were unwilling to commit, and often dropped out, since they could not ensure their daily bread and water. Subsequently, the organisation reached out to those who were struggling financially and were unable to pay the fees for their examinations, and helped them to continue their classes. Moreover, they provided financial support as well as mentoring for students who were planning to apply to universities.
Several of these students are now studying in Dhaka University, Chittagong University, and other institutions across the country. Tarannum Jamal, Joint Secretary of Ek Takay Shikkha says, "The blessings that we receive from the students and their families, we don't need anything more than that to be happy."
'Project Agaami', an initiative by Ek Takay Shikkha, aims to inspire students to pursue higher studies in the future. For that, the organisation's team has arranged seminars about the importance of higher studies, in many rural areas. "The inquisitive mindset of the students motivates us to keep going", shared Asma Kaspi, Assistant General Secretary of Ek Takay Shikkha.
Moreover, they provided school supplies to many institutions in rural regions around Bangladesh. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, their volunteers tried their best to support those in need, providing 2,500 hand sanitisers for free to several social organisations, and also supplying food for those who are not financially solvent. They also contributed to a project that provided PPEs to healthcare professionals and doctors during the pandemic.
Ek Takay Shikkha received the Best Idea Award in the SDG Genius competition and was recognised as Chittagong's Best Social Organisation. Nishat Soultana, General Secretary says, "Winning the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2020 was a huge motivating force. Now, the main idea of our organisation has spread all across the country."
Ek Takay Shikkha now has a working website, where donors can not only see how much money they have invested into the project, but can also see for which purpose their donations are being used. Interested donors can register on the website. Through their initiatives, Ek Takay Shikkha's team hopes to contribute to the 4th Sustainable Development Goal to provide quality education for all. "We have received praise as well as criticism during our journey, but my belief is that we will continue our endeavors because of how they spread unconditional happiness," concludes Abdullah Md Saeed Safi, Senior Vice President of the organisation.
The author is majoring in Marketing at North South University, with the aim of becoming a marketing mastermind someday and furthering her career in academia. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.