Bangladesh was established in 1947 with the partition of India, Pakistan, East Pakistan and gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. The country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and has the highest population density in the world with 168 million people fitting into land 2/3rds the size of Victoria. 52% of the country is less than 1 metre above sea-level and 24% of the nation lives below the poverty line. Whilst this is still high it is about half the level of 10 years ago.
In the Chittagong area there are over a million Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar. This has created a massive social problem in Bangladesh as it is a drain on the limited food resources of the country and it has been the source of significant drug influx (“yaba” tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine) into the country.
The Bangladesh economy is predominantly agricultural but it is also the 2nd largest garment manufacturer accounting for 75% of the nation’s exports.
Whilst significant investment has been made in primary schooling by the government, there are large numbers of under-privileged children, particularly in urban slum and rural and remote areas who are unable to access schools.
Considerably more children are now in school however it has often been at the expense of class sizes and quality of education…regularly up to 60 per class. Only 67% of the population complete primary school and only 22% go past Year 10. The literacy rate is 73% … double what it was 15 years ago with 76% amongst males and 70% amongst females. The gender literacy gap has halved in the last 15 years but there are still significant rural areas with very low literacy rates. There is also poor medical support in rural Bangladesh and very limited vocational education, only simple farming as the only source of income.
The Caleb Foundation has been working with New Hope Ministry Bangladesh Trust (NHMBT) and the Senior Pastor of the Uttara AOG Church to set up educational facilities in the communities that they serve. Over the years they have started 10 schools some of which are now self-sufficient. They currently assist with the salaries of 19 teachers in 5 schools.
Their second largest school at Sarodhagonj, Savar on the outskirts of greater Dhaka, was started 10 years ago and has over 100 students from Kindergarten to Year 10. The property is rented leaving them exposed to the risk of relocation to more expensive premises if the rental ceases. The school is currently paying a favourable rate.
To purchase the existing property at Savar to reduce costs and avoid expensive relocation to enable continued a high-level education in a community with low education rates and poverty.
In August 2021, The Caleb Foundation for South Asia advanced a payment through NHMBT to the landowner of the school at Savar to have first right of refusal for the purchase of the property at an advantageous rate in the next 2 years, or recoup the money, or use it for 5 months rental.
In February 2022, the owner approached Ps Kalyan as he has a desire to sell 10 decimals (100 decimals to an acre) of the 22 decimal property, of which we use roughly 15 decimals. He is willing to sell us all the property over time at the agreed price. He is very keen for the school to continue on the site and potentially include years 11 and 12 as he sees the benefit to the community.
The landowner is aware that we may not have the funds immediately available…requesting a deposit upfront to cover the cost of the transfer of the 10 decimals to NHMBT. The balance would be payable over 2 to 3 years.
Currently there are 100 children from kindy to year 10 enrolled at this school providing opportunities for these children to prosper in all areas of life. The benefit to their families and the wider community is immeasurable.
To help NHMBT purchase this property to enable continued education and increased opportunities for the children in this improverished community in Bangladesh, please click on “Donate to this Project” on the right sidebar. Thank you.