Our project in the Matuail rubbish dump provides education to child waste pickers. We work with our local partner, Grambangla Unnayan Committee, to help get children into schools or day care, and provide young adults vocational training. The Grambangla School was established in 2008. It started in a small room in a tin shed with 46 preschool students and one teacher. From there, a day care was established for the children of waste pickers, and as more students came, the school gradually grew.
Now the Grambangla School has 5 classrooms for primary school students, a teacher's room, one kitchen, two disability friendly toilets, as well as its day care. The children are provided books and educational materials, breakfast and lunch, a uniform, and health care services for free.
"I enjoyed primary school and did well in my classes. My teachers were very happy with me and they always motivated me to continue my studies. Inspired by them, I started dreaming of becoming a doctor and starting preparing for the Primary School Certificate exam.
Last year, my brother in-law brought proposed marriage. My parents were very happy as they had found a guy for me to marry. When I heard this, it made me feel afraid. At school, I had learnt that getting married at an early age can be harmful for a girl’s health. I wanted to live a free life as a child. I was not ready to take responsibility of a family. It made me upset and I started arguing with my parents. At first, my parents tried to convince me it was a good idea by telling me about their financial situation. They kept pressuring me, they worried that in future it would be more difficult to find a suitable match.
Fortunately, as soon as one of the community facilitators of Grambangla heard about the marriage proposal she came to our home to find out what was going on. She tried to make my parents understand the consequences of child marriage. But my parents refused to listen or understand, they reacted by telling me to stay at home and not attend school.
At school, my teachers and other staff had heard about the incident from the community facilitator. As I was now absent from school every day the headmistress stepped in. She visited our home and spoke with my parents. They talked about the consequence of early marriage, the legal obligations and the importance of the upcoming exams. They assured my parents about all the support the school would offer for continuing in my education. Even though my parents were not fully convinced, they decided to cancel the marriage and agreed to allow me to continue with my studies."
"Returning to school, I sat my primary school certificate exam achieving GPA grade 3.25 out of 5.00. I’m now in high school because of their support and all I can say is that Grambangla School is like a blessing to me."
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