The News was published in the BSS
Eighth grade student Shathi (14) was suddenly forced to stop her study last year, which came as a nightmare putting her future in the dark hole of uncertainty. Her housemaid mother was unable to incur her educational expenses due to extreme poverty.
“I had no capacity to bear the educational expenses of my daughter and that is why I stopped her from school-going. I tried to arrange a marriage ceremony for her. But the marriage bid was foiled by women community leaders,” said Anwara Begum, the mother of Shathi living in Korail slum in the capital.
But, she said, receiving an educational grant of Taka 9,000 from an urban development project, Shathi resumed her study this year and is now studying Mohakhali Model School.
Fatema, another VIII grader who earlier dropped out of school, readmitted to Mohakhali TNT Ideal Girls High School this year after receiving an educational grant from the project.
“I am very happy to receive the grant and continue my study. If I did not get financial assistance, it would have been very difficult to continue my study as my poor family had failed to bear my educational expenses,” Fatema said.
Noorjahan Begum, mother of Fatema and also a dweller in Korail slum, said the grant money Fatema received is being spent for educational purpose of her daughter, which helps cut the burden of her family in a little bit.
Like Sathi and Fatema, many students particularly the girls living in urban slums have been receiving educational grants under the Livelihood Improvement of Urban Poor Communities (LIUPC) Project, being implemented by Local Government Division and supported by UNDP.
LIUPC Town Manager Md Jainal Abedin said about 2,192 slum children have been getting educational grants from the project in Dhaka North City Corporation area.
The students who are studying in class-I to IV receive Taka 3,600 each annually as grants while class-V to class-VII students get Taka 4,800 each, he said.
Taka 9,000 grant is being given annually to only girl students who have been studying from class-VIII to X, Jainal said, adding the grants continue for three years so that the girls can complete their study.
After the introduction of the educational grants under the LIUPC project, the town manager said, school dropout among slum children has reduced significantly, the tendency of slum dwellers to force their girls to get married has also dwindled and self-protection capacity of girls has increased.
Community organiser Tahmina Akhter said they find out the underprivileged families of the slum and give their children educational grants and other supports to help them continue their study.
Once school dropout rate was very high in Korail slum, but now the scenario has changed as every parent have been sending their children to schools, she added.
The LIUPC project, which will be completed by June 2023, aims contribute to balanced and sustainable growth by reducing urban poverty in Bangladesh and the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 that call for ‘leaving no one behind’.
The project is designed to reach first the underserved urban population in the country and promote the livelihoods and living conditions of about four million people living in urban areas in 12 city corporations and 24 municipalities