October 2022
 
Combined Rotary Mothers' School Dhaka, Bangladesh
 
Dear Members of the Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton,
 
 
This is our pleasure to share our news and community base social works with you. We are learning and developing ourselves as mother-teachers and social development workers in our neighborhood. We want to do more good work for my community, particularly for the children. We are now giving full support to our micro-school children and our neighbors. This is a very important time for us to recover their losses in education. Now a few mothers of our school have increased their teaching times from 1 hours to 2 hours a day to recover the lessons children missed but some of us work part-time. So, they could not manage extra time but we wish to. The poor families had lost a few valuable assets to buy food during the past pandemic and at present crisis but the situation taught us how to live better with humanity and loving to each other. We were taught in our mother school that humanity is the best creation of God which we proved by our actions and behaviors. We have started getting the benefit of learning in our life. Education has given us acceptance, knowledge, empowerment, humanity, courage to raise our voice against injustice & discrimination in family and in society. And we think, in this journey mothers of our school are the important part to carry out our social development activities. 
 
Now we will share with you a success story of our mothers, Hasina is a mother of Amarok School. Her husband’s name is Md. Moslem Uddin who works as a day laborer. They have two sons. They came to Dhaka from Barisal for a better livelihood in 2005. Staying in different slums, now they live in Rasulbug slum, East Badda, Dhaka. Moslem Uddin’s income is not stable and regular. So, the family often faced food & other crises in their livelihood. Sometimes children had to go to sleep without having a proper meal, Hasina silently cried, what else could she do until could earn by herself to support the family!  Neighbors often heard quarrelling and shouting between the husband and wife especially when her husband talked about stopping the education of children and engaging them in earning. 
 
Hasina was admitted in Amarok School for learning and operated a micro-school to teach 5 children including her own.  After a few months of learning in school, she thought about setting a street tea-stall to open in the morning and afternoon for a few hours and shared her idea with her husband. She saved some money as part of the ‘saving-group’ with 8 other friends of Amarok School as an emergency saving. Her husband supported her idea and agreed to assist her after coming back from work. So, she opened her tea shop with inexpensive light snacks like cookies, local slice cake and within a short time her tea shop started running well and her family got back in happiness. Some dishonest people tried to go away without payment after having snacks but Hasina every time caught them by hand as she is educated now and able to monitor payment well. However, during the COVID-19 situation she was bound to close her shop for a long time due to the order of the local government. Hasina’s family again fell down in problem managing food cost and the rent of her house as the COVD situation stayed prolonged. 
 
 
Hasina became irregular in Mother School. She was thinking about selling all the materials she bought to operate her tea-stall. One day, Amarok Teacher visited her house and heard about her struggles of livelihood. She advised her to discuss the situation with her friends in school if they could help her. Hasina visited her friends Afsana, Rupa, Shilpi and Nahar. They suggested she take a small loan from a local Cooperative and wait for an improving situation. Rupa and Shilpi, her friends, also agreed to sign as the grantors of the loan. Two months later, the situation started to change. Local government decided to lessen some restrictions informally and some street shops started to open. With the cookeries and tea-stand Hasina opened her tea-staff again but this time she used one-time plastic cups for the customers and placed a dustbin to throw the used cup there. Her thinking & techniques worked well as people found one-time cups as a better option. Hasina didn’t have to buy new kettles & other utensils required. She started paying back the loan from the cooperative and returned to her normal life. Her family starts to get back happiness, now she attends school regularly; education of her children is also going on fully. 
 
Hasina is grateful to her friends and to her teacher for being with her with their courage and support. She is also grateful to Amarok Society because of educating her and helping her find such great friends. She wants to educate her sons in higher grades and expand her shop. She believes good friends are wealthy and many ways better than money. 
 
Before our education we did not know many things and did not think about them but now because of our school, reading newspapers, watching television and current situation discussion by the teacher in the class session we can know about the symptoms and prevention of COVID, Dengue and price hike of daily goods. Also, we can know about the world situation like; war between Russia and Ukraine. We think it’s a big political issue. We can see the power practicing attitude by the Russian leader. Because of the war situation we are suffering a lot and our regular market prices are going up day by day. Now cooking oil, rice, wheat, vegetables and grocery items are out of control of our government. This is why we are really passing a bad time to feed ourselves and children. But we are trying our best using the learning from the recent pandemic & food and work crisis. This situation is better because the lockdown has not been imposed. We have learnt humanity, sharing, cooperation and believe we have to solve our problem, no miracle will happen. 
 
We can clearly remember that we were not like this before. Now we can judge what is right and what is wrong. We can make a clear difference between good vs. bad. Education of our children is the top priority which was not before.
Thank you very much for establishing the mother-school in our slum. 
With love and respect,
 
Masuma, Afsana, Roji, Shilpi, Tarpina and Surma 
(Mothers of the school)