The IDLC-Prothom Alo Trust's “Adwitiya” scholarship is awarded to inspire the first woman of a family reaching the university-level who are unable to pursue higher education due to financial crisis. This year, 10 girls have got this scholarship. All of them are children of tea-garden workers from Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts. These students of Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chattogram will get this “Adwitiya” scholarship at the initiative of Prothom Alo Trust and financial institution IDLC. AUW offers various opportunities to these students including accommodation, tuition fee facilities.
Daily family income Tk 120: Moni Paul
My father Anil Kumar Reli cannot work in the tea garden anymore as his legs are fractured. My mother Sarathi Rani Reli earns merely Tk 120 every day by working as a tea garden worker. It is quite difficult to run a family with this little income. I had a dream of studying in AUW. The dream has come true. Now I want to be an ideal teacher and help my poor brothers and sisters. From my childhood I have been facing hardship. The Adwitiya scholarship will help me a lot.
I want to be a BCS cadre or a google employee: Anjoli Rani Bhowmik
I wanted to be a physician but my family could not afford the fee of a coaching centre after my HSC exams. It seemed like my life had ended when I failed in the viva-voce of Jahangirnagar University. Despite earning only Tk 120 per day my parents never hesitated to spend for their children’s education. My brother is studying in the physics department at Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University and my sister is a 10th grader. Inspired by my parents, I have got the chance to study in AUW. I want to be a BCS cadre or a Google employee.
I understood the pain of my parents from childhood: Bristy Adhikari
I grew up in the Longla tea garden in Moulvibazar. From the young age, I knew it was difficult to run a family of six with a low income. So I have always studied attentively. In the 6th grade, I got the opportunity to study at Camellia Duncan Foundation School in our village with a scholarship. It was difficult to continue studying after school. Then I started working as a private tutor to bear my educational expenses. After passing the HSC exams with great difficulty, when I could not get admitted into any coaching centre, it seemed that I would not be able to study anymore. AUW has fulfilled my dream.
I thought my study would come to an end: Bonna Urang
From my childhood, I wanted to join the army. I even passed the preliminary test. However, I was dropped out in the final phase. Later, I got admission in the Bangla department of Sreemangal Government College. It became so difficult for my parents to bear the educational expense of four children. At one point they decided to arrange for my marriage. At this time, I got the information about AUW from one of my friends. I sat for the admission test. This was my first admission test ever. Luckily I got the chance to study in the university. My life would have been different otherwise.
High school was far away: Afrin Mou
The high school I studied at was very far from home. I had to walk first, and then take a vehicle to reach there. My family could not afford to arrange any private tutor for me. When I was in the tenth grade, our head master arranged free coaching for me. I sat for the HSC exams from the hostel. The manager of the tea garden told me about AUW. This is a big achievement for me that the university will carry my educational expenses for the next five years. Besides, Adwitiya will also encourage me.
They wanted to burn me to death as I denied marrying: Priyanka Gowala
When I was in college, some people came with a marriage proposal all on a sudden. After talking with the relatives my parents also agreed to the proposal. I used to cry a lot that time, thinking why will I marry despite being good at study? When my parents were preparing for my marriage, I was taking preparation for the admission in AUW. I did not tell anybody about it. Once my mother stood by me, I got the courage to fight. Those people tried to burn our whole family by sprinkling petrol around our house as I denied marrying. After finishing my study in the AUW, I dream to open a night school where I will be able to do something for the people by spreading the light of education.
I am proud to say that my parents are tea garden workers: Priyanka Mahali
We are five sisters. My father cannot work in the tea garden as he is paralysed. My mother bears the family expenses by working. I bear my educational expenses by sewing. My dream is to become a professor of English. The people of our tea garden are lagging behind as they are not efficient in English. Admission in AUW is the biggest success of my life. My parents are the most important people in my life. I want to do something for the future generation so that I can proudly say I am a child of tea workers.
I have seen my mother crying many times: Soma Goswami
I was born in a joint family in a tea garden. My father was the only earning member of the family of eight. There is a lot of discrimination between male and female in our society. However, my parents did not stop us from studying or playing. I have seen my mother crying many a time after our relatives misbehaved with her. Even there have been incidents when my friends went to the school leaving me as my father could not afford the transportation cost. I went alone but never gave up. When my name did not appear in the list of the students to get the stipends, I thought I would not be able to continue my study. At that time a journalist from Prothom Alo helped me continue my study. After finishing my study I want to work for the society.
I want to do something for the tea garden worker community: Binti Taanti
I live with my mother, aunt, uncle and two of my cousins. My father committed suicide when I was 7-month-old. My mother raised us by working in the tea garden. My uncle did not let us feel the absence of my father. He could have arranged for my marriage like the others in the garden. He always inspired me. But he wanted me to continue my study and establish myself in life. I want to do something for my family and the tea garden worker community.
I teach girls in the tea garden free of cost: Moni Munda
No one could believe when I failed in physics in the HSC examination as I was a good student in school. I could not tell anyone that the environment of our house is not suitable for studying. My school was some 10 kilometers away. But it helped me as I was able to study on my way to school. We are four sisters. My father helped a lot and encouraged me. It became so difficult to study after my admission in college. My mother used to say, “Everyone goes to college once or twice a week. Why do you need to go to college every day?” The way I passed the HSC on the second attempt and got admission in the AUW, still seems unbelievable to me. Apart from study, I teach the children of the tea garden free of cost.
* The report, originally published in Pro Swapno Niye, a supplement of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu