Posted by Scott Young on Jul 29, 2019
Last year our club co-sponsored a school in Bangladesh through The Amarok Society -- the Combined Rotary Women's School - with The Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Grand Prairie and Hinton.
Here is an update that they have sent us with some photos and a letter updating us on the progress of the school and the program.
July 2019

Combined Rotary Women's School  
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dear Members of The Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton.

We hope you all are fine and here we are doing well too. In this letter we will tell you more about us and about our School. Our school is located in Dhaka. The school is in a slum of ‘Uttar Badda’ area. One of the rooms in our slum is our School. 25 mothers from our community come here to learn and we 25 mothers teach 125 community children. Our school starts in the afternoon for two hours. Many mothers of our school work as part-time housemaid. We enjoy our schooltime as this is the only time, we are free from work and live in happiness. Our school is our meeting place for learning and sharing our topics with one another. We take help from each other, share problems & ask for suggestions from our friends.

Our teacher teaches us through various types of activities like games, song, story and role play. Same process we follow to teach our neighborhood children. Here we mainly learn English, Bengali & Math. Our teacher also discusses many other relevant issues to our life like mother's health, child development, food & nutrition, health & hygiene, bad effect of dowry and household conflict. Now we understand our mistakes that had already done and we want to correct them for our better future. Even, we also aware our community people by discussing with them about our learning.

This month our teacher took a session about ‘Puberty Stage’ for the teenage girls of our community. On that session some of us were present there too. From that session the girls came to know:
  • The definition of ‘Puberty’
  • The changes that take place during puberty ( physical, social & mental).
Our teacher asked them what happened in their earlier life. They shared with us:
  • They felt lonely and confused.
  • Anxiety and stress.
  • Mood swings problems.
  • The physical changes.
  • Getting unexpected behavior from their family members and relatives.
  • More interested in being with friends.
  • Some have more conflicts with their parents.
  • Most of them thought, these puberty things are so humiliating.
To overcome from these feelings our teacher suggested to all that:
  • Take everything normal as the changes are natural.
  • Instead of suffering from inferiority, anxiety and stress the teenager can involve in various kinds of social activities and accelerate their hobbies and creativities.
  • The teenagers should be more open with their parents and discuss everything has happen with them.
  • Parents should be more tolerant towards their children and become friends of them.
  • Take nutritious food and lots of water. 
Now we are going to tell you about our friend 'Karima'. She is very keen to learn and doing well among all of us. She helps our teacher for making materials and exercise cards. She has a daughter of 1 and a half. She takes her daughter in our school. Her family also supports her. But the earlier time things were not easy. Karima's husband didn't like that she attended in school. He had doubt on her wife and didn't allow her to go out alone. He used to quarrel with her. One day she came to school and told us about her problem and thought that might be her last day in school. We became surprised and asked her more about the issue. After hearing the whole thing, we decided to talk with her husband. Our teacher and some of us went to her home and tried to convince Karima’s husband. He thought learning at this age for her wife was meaningless. Then our teacher gave some example of differences between an educated mother and an illiterate mother. How an educate mother helps her family by empowering herself. She gave examples of some of our friends who were doing very well being educated. After talking with him for an hour, he became little convinced to send his wife in Amarok Mother School. Later on, we visited several times to their home and talked to her husband. Now Karima is very happy to come at school and teaching her neighbor's children and her husband fully supports her.

Our friend 'Panna' has shared in our school that her younger daughter ‘Fateha' is doing very well in study. Because Fateha is now in 8th grade, so it become difficult for Panna to teach her. Now one of the girls in our slum who studies in college helps her.  Fateha teaches her youngest brother, two of her cousins at home. This year she will attend in Junior School Certificate Exam. Panna says, "I don’t know how much we will able to support her but we will give our maximum effort to continue her education." We wish her prosperity in life.

Wish for us too that we can be the pioneers of changes of life of women live in our slum.

With love,

Panna, Shima, Khorsheda, Ranu, Karima and Hasna
 (Mothers of Combined Rotary Clubs Women’s School)