“I and my family have been inspired by the activities of FH and many changes have taken place in our family.” - Akhi
For the past eight years, Akhi has actively participated in the FH Child Sponsorship program. And what a difference it’s made!
Akhi was just nine years old when she was connected with her first sponsor and began joining in FH activities. They brought out the best in her! Annual events like Child Development Day and pre-Christmas activities gave her room to express herself through art competitions, cultural displays, and sports (for which she’s even won prizes). Annual health check-ups improved her daily hygiene and helped her grow healthily through her pre-teen and teen years.
Guided youth gatherings have positively shaped her character, cultivating in her an appreciation for her elders (a challenge for all teens!) and care for those younger than herself. Through the local Children’s Cub, Akhi also discovered her gift for leadership. She serves as a team leader and helps her classmates with various activities and keeps her peers informed of class schedules. She and her friends even formed a committee to prevent child marriage.
Akhi’s classmate, Shorna, describes her friend: “Akhi is a culturally minded Team Leader of our Children’s Club. She is expert in drawing, singing, and acting. She communicates with us regularly. She advises everyone to participate in various meetings.”
Before Akhi joined the FH Child Sponsorship program, her family didn’t see the value of formal education. As a result, she didn’t go school regularly. Akhi’s father, Amadul, never received an education and her mother, Hajera, stopped attending school after Grade 6. Amadul now farms rice as the family’s primary source of income and Hajera takes care of the home and family.
But around the same time that Akhi became a sponsored child, her mother joined a FH savings group called Golap Mahila Unnayan (Rose’s Women Development group). For a time, Hajera led her Cascade health group and now serves as the Leader Mother of her Cascade education group. Through her involvement with FH, she learned the trade of tailoring. As a seamstress, she can earn 1500 Taka ($22CAD) a month to supplement their family income and help cover their five children’s expenses.
Now in Grade 10, Akhi attends school regularly, helps her mother with the cooking, and helps her younger siblings with their homework. A tube well at their home provides easy access to clean water and a hygienic latrine allows the family better sanitation.
In addition to improving the physical, emotional, and social health of everyone in Akhi’s family, FH’s presence in their village has brought neighbours together and cultivated a true sense of community. Today, her mother Hajera is a respected member of the community who many seek out for advice; and she’s happy to support them!
Akhi dreams of becoming a teacher and in the future wants to serve the people living in her area. Today, she’s helping raise her younger siblings to be “ideal community members” - practicing and expanding on the development activities introduced by FH. A local FH staff member, Afroza, shares her perspective on watching Akhi grow up: “Akhi is a very intelligent girl. She is very good at studying. She communicates regularly with FH. She works hard to solve various problems. She helps children with their studies in this area. I wish her a bright future.”