Rukhsar* is a bright student and talented seamstress. Her journey through education has been filled with challenges, but that hasn't stopped her.

Rukhsar is 15 years old. She used to live in her native village with her older sister and parents. When her older sister was about to get married, her father sold the small piece of land he owned to his brothers to provide the dowry. However, the price the brothers offered was unfair and it turned into an ugly family dispute. Rukhsar’s uncles became so violent that they threated to kill her father. The family had to flee to Dhaka. There her parents started working as labourers.

Living in a single room in a slum in Dhaka, Rukhsar’s parents carried sand, earning 300-400 Bangladeshi taka (£2.80- £3.80) a day. Rukhsar’s older sister started working at a garment factory and lived with Rukhsar’s parents, along with her husband.

 "Due to poverty, I couldn’t attend school. However, many of my friends here attended the drop-in centre, free of cost. I saw them visiting the centre regularly, playing and learning. I also joined the centre in March 2016.” 

Rukhsar was enrolled in Nagorik Uddyog’s drop-in centre and was put in the beginners’ section. Soon after, she was moved to the fast learners’ group. Seeing her progress, she was enrolled in a mainstream primary school in Class 4 under the supervision of a teacher from the centre.

Sadly, due to family responsibilities, Rukhsar dropped out of school again though she continued to come to the Nagorik drop-in centre. When she starting attending the drop-in centre againn she was made a peer member.

In March 2019, owing to her good performance, she was enrolled again in school in Class 5.

“Learning at the centre has transformed my life. I am more conscientious now and participate in all workshops and activities. I attended a workshop on animation organised by TRAID and Rainbow Collective. I also got training on cooking and sewing at the drop-in centre.”

As Rukhsar’s school has been closed for almost a year, due to the global pandemic, she has been working at an embroidery factory to support her family. The basic training in tailoring that Rukhsar received at the drop in centre has helped her to secure a job which gives her around 11,000 taka (£104) a month.

“I am pleased to be able to support my family, as well as continue learning at the drop-in centre.”​