By Winter Johnson
When she was a young girl in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 23-year-old Shamema Akter dreamed of being a teacher, even though her parents’ financial situation made it impossible for her to go to school. However, thanks to the Industrial Centre of HOPE in the Ashulia industrial area in Bangladesh, the dream that began as a seed has been able to blossom.
At age 18, she began her training at the Centre, walking on foot for 30 minutes each way, five days per week to study computers, sewing and entrepreneurship. She graduated in 2018. Now, her dream has come true — she is a teacher at the Industrial Centre of HOPE, teaching English, Math, Bangla, Social Science, agriculture and more to school-age children. When she isn’t educating children, she is working hard at her studies at Savar Government College, where she is studying marketing, and plans to get a Bachelor of Business Administration.
We caught up with Shamema to learn more about her journey at the Centre of HOPE in Bangladesh:
HWW: I understand that your parents were unable to afford to send you to school. How did your parents communicate that?
SA: Yes, I knew that I would be unable to go to school and my parents told me that. When my parents told me that they wouldn’t be able to afford my studies, at that moment I felt very sad and worried about our family’s financial crisis and about my study life.
When I was young, my family was going through a financial crisis because my father was the only earning family member and my mother was a housewife. On a monthly basis, my father earned BDT 18000 (USD 196). Our house rent was BDT 5000 (USD 54.35). With the remaining money, he maintained my two sisters’ study expenses, food and other family expenses, and my father also sent money to the village for my grandmother.
HWW: What do you love most about being a junior teacher?
SA: I love to teach children through play. I especially love my interactions with the children.
HWW: When you think of the Centre of HOPE, what are you the most grateful for?
SA: The Centre of HOPE has given me a big platform. Through this teaching profession, I can support my higher studies and support my family financially. Another thing is that I get leave from my office work when I have university exams, so I am grateful to the Centre of HOPE.
HWW: What would you say to other people who may be thinking about attending the Centre of HOPE for training?
SA: I would say that they would benefit from this training in several ways. They will get more knowledge, develop their skills and they would become self-reliant and able to support their families financially.
Click to learn more about HOPE worldwide Bangladesh.