Nightmare in Modhupur

March 30, 2007

by Hana Shams Ahmed
[Daily Star, March 30, 2007]

Family members of Choles Ritchil break down after receiving his dead body

He was a brave man. He stood up for the rights of his people whenever the need came. When the Bangladesh government decided to go ahead with its proposed Eco Park project in 2000, putting the lives of thousands of indigenous people at risk and threatening the ecological balance of the area, he took a stand against it and protested. When greedy, materialistic forest officials, who had anything but the interest of the forest at heart, started felling trees in the darkness of the night and selling them off for personal profit, he jumped on them and refused to let them get away with it. He loved the Modhupur Forest, his ancestral home and he loved his people, the small minority of Garos and dedicated his life for the establishment of their rights. Read the rest of this entry »


The Price of Staying in School

March 16, 2007

The Price of Staying in School
by Hana Shams Ahmed
[March 16, 2007]

One of the reasons for the high rate of drop out is that there is little interaction between teachers and students.

Thirteen-year-old Tuma has been working at a home in Dhaka for the last three years. When she was eight years old, her parents had enrolled her in a primary school in their home district of Brahmanbaria. She studied there for two years but had to drop out when her sister who worked in Dhaka said that her employer’s relatives were looking for a maid. Her education came to a premature end and that too not for the best of reasons.

It is unfortunate, shocking even, that Tuma is among 48% of primary school students who drop out from the many government and non-government rural schools all across the country. Like Tuma, many come from very poor families, for whom education is not a priority. Families with very low income place more importance on food and shelter, rather than education or healthcare, and thus the alarming rate of untimely dropouts every year.

Read the rest of this entry »