Seaford Rotary has agreed to make a further contribution towards the salary of one of the Jaago Foundation teachers, Mehenaj Hossain, a graduate from a university in Dhaka, who has been teaching at the Jaago Foundation Rayer Bazar school, Dhaka
Seaford Rotary has sponsored her salary for more than 2 years.
Jaago Foundation, a UK Registered Charity No. 1163656, is a not-for-project organisation in Bangladesh. It started in 2007 when at the age of 21, Korvi Rakshan having completed his education at University College London, returned to Dhaka and decided to use his education and skills to create change for impoverished children in Bangladesh. He founded Jaago with a vision to eliminate poverty through education by renting a single room in the Rayer Bazar slum area and started teaching a class of 17 children. Now, 13 years later Jaago has 3,500 registered students aged between 4 – 15 years based in 13 sites throughout Bangladesh.
Korvi’s aim was, and still is to break the cycle of poverty through education where most of the children enrolled in the schools are from families whose average daily income is below the international indicator of poverty, less than US $1.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in Bangladesh were closed in May 2020 and in July 2020, Jaago came up with an innovative approach to continue to provide education to those children who were unable to attend school. A “Tel-Ed” initiative was created by conducting classes over the phone and using short messaging services. This project has paved the way to ensure education continues to be provided. The programme has engaged both students and their parents with the teachers and staff.
Many positive responses have been received from students and parents. An example of the feedback is from Shumi, a 4th grade student from a remote area. Her mother is very keen she receives a good education and whenever they experience any technical and network issues while communicating by mobile, she immediately rushes to Shumi’s classmate’s house to write down the homework so Shumi can continue her studies. Shumi’s parents even called the teacher once when the teacher was late in calling them.
Teachers based in schools in towns in the north of Bangladesh including Rangpur and Dinajpur schools found that initially parents had some reservations and were doubtful about the process of Tel-Ed. Now, however, they are extremely satisfied and most of the guardians/parents acknowledge that Tel-Ed is helping to continue their children’s education. After a few classes, the parents were extremely happy to see their children study again. Parents in the towns generally have limited technical ability with little or no formal education, however, they have expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Jaago after seeing their children interact with the teacher and their child during this period of COVID-19.
The reasons that Jaago began the initiative of the TEL-ED program was to keep the students engaged, to maintain each student’s link with formal schooling, and to reduce the rate of student dropouts. Accordingly, once normality is restored, post-COVID-pandemic, students returning to the classroom should not be overburdened with having to familiarise themselves with the curriculum and the learning process all over again.
In addition to the Tel Ed programme, the COVID-19 pandemic has had the worst effect on the under privileged in Bangladesh. Jaago has therefore distributed food and essential items since the lockdown was imposed to the worst affected families. Volunteers in every district are endeavouring to reach out to these people and provide them with the basic necessities.
Jaago is optimistic they will overcome the difficulties faced by COVID-19 and hope to conduct their operations smoothly during this ‘new normal’. People in Bangladesh are all aware that currently the world is facing the biggest challenge of our times and the worst affected in this situation are the underprivileged classes of society. In this situation, JAAGO Foundation has stepped up to help these families. Many lower-middle-class families in Bangladesh have lost jobs and are struggling to ‘put food on the table’ and so the food package campaign, which was initiated in the capital Dhaka, is being delivered in most districts of the country.