Let there be light

DHAKA- Street children grow up unnoticed and uncared for. We often notice their presence on streets, though most of us do not bother to see them conscientiously.

We have accepted that they were born on streets and one day they would die on roads after leading miserable lives. Sometimes we behave as if they were urchins and they have no right to live.

But there are some people who don't think the way we do, they stand beside them and try to bring them out of desolation and provide them proper education so that they could be brought up in society like other children with their basic needs.

Hasi Mukh, a volunteer initiative to educate street children, has set a unique example for us by providing education to the unfortunate children.

Since street children cannot make time or don't have chance to go to school, the charity organization, which is mainly run by university students, has been running a school for them so that they can continue their education and acquire knowledge.

Nayan Mala, a student of Class-III at Dhanmondi No-2 Government Primary School, comes to the school every day except Friday to solve problems which she cannot understand in her classroom, as her sweeper father does not have ability to hire a private tutor.

She said, Actually I come here to solve my English and Mathematics problems. I also love the foods which teachers provide us after classes.

Farzana, a student of class-V and daughter of a caretaker of a house, said as her father had financial crunch, he sent her to the school.

She said she had been reading at the open-air school for around four months. She said, I am enjoying my schooling, as teachers treat us nicely."

Like Naynan Mala and Farzana, Bijoy, a student of Class-II, along with his younger brother Joy regularly comes to the school.

Julkarnain, a teacher of the charity school established in 2010 by some students of Dhaka University, has recently completed his masters from a private university, said the school now has 130 students and nine teachers. They teach students from Class-I to IX.

Rupa Kunda, another teacher, who is a student of Marketing Department at Women's Federation University, said every teacher comes voluntarily to help the street children.

Mohammad Nizamuddin and Minara Begum, teachers of the school, said they did not take any remuneration for their services. We have come forward for the wellbeing of the children as it only costs education for education, nothing else.

According to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Statistics, of the 38,000 street children across the country, 55 percent live in Dhaka city.

Metropolitan cities mainly are dwellings of the street children. The major problems which street children face are: insecure life, physical and sexual abuses, harassment by law enforcement agencies, inadequate access to educational institutions, lack of healthcare facilities, and decent employment opportunities.

Though the role of appropriate education for underprivileged children such as street and working children has been unequivocally established, most of children are deprived of their basic right. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution recognizes the right to education for all, including disadvantaged children.

Saifur Rahman Sohag, founder of the school said, he along with some of his friends established the school in 2010 with a view to brining street children under the light of education.

Sohag, also the President of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student front of the ruling party Awami League, said people appreciated their initiative but a few number of people stand beside them.

He also urged affluent people of the society to help the helpless children so that they could get light of education.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)