|Monjura (left) talks to a group of neighbours about the importance of education.|
Monjura proudly shares her success as a teen girl in school.
Her neighbours - mothers and young girls like herself - listen with shy attention. This confident, poised girl could be their daughter in a few years.
Monjura's success shines as a beacon of hope in the poverty-stricken community of Char Borobila, Bangladesh.
Families here struggle to eat just one meal a day. Children attend school sporadically. Fathers labour hard to scrape together a living. Mothers are constrained to the home. Daughters marry young - too young. Marital disputes (and abuse) are pervasive.
This was the story of Monjura's family.
They were so poor that they didn't have enough to eat. Monjura only made it to school about two-thirds of the time. Her parents planned to marry her young. They had no frame of reference to see the importance of educating a girl. They believed Monjura's life would be just like all the other women in Char Borobila - get married, take care of children. End of story.
But that wasn't the end for Monjura!
When FH began work in her community, Monjura's mother enroled in a Savings and Loans group. Her eyes were opened to new possibilities. She obtained a loan from her group that enabled her to pay off the mortgage on their land. She began to learn about health and hygiene for her family. Slowly, they began to emerge from under the yoke of poverty.
A few years later, Monjura became a sponsored child.
She received financial support for her studies, as well as communal support through after-school programs. FH staff walked with Monjura and her parents, encouraging them and showing them the incredible power of an education.
With the new support of both her parents, her Canadian sponsor, and the FH community, Monjura flourished. She soared to the top of her class with an A+ average.
And now, she shines as a beacon of hope for her whole community.
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