A year of hope and empowerment for children in Dhaka South
AACT and UNICEF’s partnership helps out-of-school children rediscover education
In the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where bustling streets intersect with stories of resilience and hope, a partnership has been quietly shaping the lives of thousands of children. UNICEF Bangladesh and Anjuman and Aziz Charitable Trust (AACT) joined hands a year ago with a shared vision: to provide quality education to out-of-school children, offering them a path to a brighter future.
Today, on the first anniversary of this partnership, we celebrate the impact it has had on the lives of children and their communities.
A beacon of light
At the heart of this collaborative endeavor lies UNICEF's Ability-Based Accelerated Programme (ABAL). Designed to cater to out-of-school students aged 8 to 14, ABAL provides a flexible and personalized learning environment that empowers children to discover their unique learning levels and styles. This approach, focused on understanding each child's needs and abilities, has proven to be transformative.
For children who have been denied the opportunity to learn due to various challenges, ABAL is a lifeline. It allows them to rekindle their love for learning and, more importantly, offers a chance to return or enter formal education systems.
Muhammed Aziz Khan, Member of the UNICEF International Council and Chairman of the Anjuman and Aziz Charitable Trust (AACT) is no stranger to the power of education. His journey from humble beginnings to international success has provided him with unique insights into the transformative power of learning.
Reflecting on the significance of this partnership and the ABAL programme, Mr. Khan says, "It's not only an inspiration that led to this partnership and our support for the programme; it's a call, a call to help equalize this society. It's very important that disadvantaged children come back to mainstream education and be as learned as their peers of similar age."
An enlightening visit
On August 17, 2023, Mr. Khan visited the UNICEF Learning Centre in Jhawchar, Kamrangirchar to see the results of this partnership. He was accompanied by his family and a UNICEF team led by Deepa Sankar, the Chief of Education for UNICEF Bangladesh.
As Mr. Khan strolled through the learning center, he encountered the resilient faces of children who had faced adversity head-on. In a moment of spontaneity, he engaged in an arm-wrestling match with one of the boys, symbolizing the resilience and determination that define these young learners. Amid shared laughter and friendship, he shared inspiring words that resonated deeply with the children.
He saw the impact of the Center Management Committee (CMC) meetings. These meetings allow parents and the community to work together for the children's future, not just focusing on education. Mr. Khan expressed his experience, stating, "It's amazing to see how resilient the children are coming from such disadvantaged communities and yet attempting to learn and pursue their studies with such courage."
A ray of hope
Amidst the lively classrooms, Mr. Khan, had a friendly exchange of words with Kulsum, a 10-year-old girl whose life had been touched by the ABAL programme.
Kulsum, who now lives with her grandmother after her parents abandoned her, found solace and opportunity in ABAL. For the past four months, she has immersed herself in learning and cherishes the moments spent with friends at the ABAL center in Jhawchar. Her eyes sparkle with enthusiasm as she says, “I love learning English and Maths. I enjoy the classes at the centre very much.”
Kulsum's story shows how education can change lives. ABAL programme gave her knowledge, a sense of belonging, and hope for a better future. It proves that children like Kulsum can succeed and flourish when provided with the right opportunity.
Empowering every child
The Learning Centre in Jhawchar, near Kamrangirchar, is one of the 67 centres in Dhaka South City Corporation under this partnership. All these centres stand as a beacon of hope for many of the 3,000 young learners between the ages of 8 and 14 in urban areas of the Dhaka South City Corporation. AACT and UNICEF's unwavering commitment to the ABAL programme has paved the way for these children to dream and aspire.
“We are grateful to AACT for their partnership in our efforts to support the educational aspirations of 3,000 children in urban slums of Dhaka. Such partnerships are crucial to fulfil the rights of children to education” said Deepa Sankar, Chief of Education, UNICEF Bangladesh.
AACT and UNICEF are united in tireless efforts to empower every child through quality education, ensuring that everyone gets an equal chance to thrive. As we mark this one-year milestone, AACT and UNICEF's partnership serves as a testament to what can be achieved when dedication, compassion, and collaboration come together in the pursuit of a better world.
The ABAL programme continues to be a source of hope for children who deserve every opportunity to thrive. Through education, dreams are being nurtured, and futures are being transformed.