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.
"My mother used to keep me lying under a nearby tree in the dump site while working. At the age of seven, I started waste picking and gave Tk. 100 per day to my mother.
It was a horrible life. Flies, awful smells, cuts, wounds and sickness were the part of my everyday life.
When my younger brother was born, I had a new responsibility to take care of him. My life as a young child consisted of collecting waste from the dump site and taking care of my brother. I had no hope of anything different or better.
In 2015, the teachers of Grambangla School found me and my brother playing in front of our house. They asked me why I wasn’t in school. They understood my situation and talked with my mother about the importance of attending school, as well as the facilities that Grambangla School provides. After they left, my mother started to find out more about the day care and meal programme.
Once I was enrolled, I finally started living like a child. The caregiver and the teachers started taking care of my brother. I was not in the dump site anymore, so I started spending time studying, playing with beautiful toys and my new friends. I get a hot meal every day and don’t have to cook anymore.
Life has improved so much since starting at Grambangla School. Besides reading and writing, I have learnt so much about health and hygiene and I teach my mother about these things too. Now I know that that when we become ill, we’ll visit a doctor at a health facility and not a traditional healer. My mother has also become a member of a self-help group facilitated by the Grambangla Unnayan Committee and she is saving money in the group to support my further education."
"From all the hard work I’ve put in this year with my studies I know I’ll complete my primary education. My teachers have motivated me to do vocational training at the end of primary education. I’ve decided to do tailoring so that in future I will have the skills to get a decent job at a garment factory."
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