I hope that 2011 is off to a great start for you and your families and that you are on your way to a fulfilling year.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you again for your support of the Supporting Success Scholarship Fund. Our students in Bangladesh and Zambia have just finished their school year and are currently on their break, but we here at IRFF are preparing for the presentation of scholarships that will take place in the next two weeks. Our students are excited for their next year of school that you have made possible and are anxious to continue their education.
I will be in touch shortly with pictures of the students that we are sponsoring, but I wanted to thank you again for your generosity and to let you know that your contributions are changing the lives of our young people and providing them with the opportunity for a brighter future.
All the best.
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On May 25th he met with seventeen of IRFF’s scholarship recipients at their school in Jaigeer. His “Postcard” from the visit:
When low-income families face a shortage of money, the expenses to send their kids to school—fees, uniforms, supplies, transportation costs—are unfortunately often cut. IRFF, in part with your support, is helping to avoid this fate for dozens of families in Jaigeer. According to Amano Tetsuya of IRFF, when determining scholarship recipients the family’s financial situation is the first criteria, including the father’s ability to work. They then consider the student’s academic achievement, and finally their ambition (which they use interviews to help determine).
The recipients I met with certainly seemed to be bright. I asked what they wanted to do when they were older. Engineer, to help my country develop. Doctor, because there are few in the area. Teacher. One boy seemed to surprise even his classmates by answering entirely in English. And ambitious: The students would like more scholarship money so they’re able to get private tutors in important subjects.
IRFF is aiming for more transformational change as well with a microloan project for parents. While it seemed they’re still getting it firmly established and accepted in the community, Mr. Amano says some families have used loans to open a shop in the market or buy seeds.
This is not so much an update on the students you are sponsoring through your generous donations, but another thank you for allowing these students to stay in school, and in doing so, to avoid the dangers that so often come with dropping out.
I have recently been reading Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book, "Half the Sky". It is a moving account of young girls who are sold or kidnapped into sexual slavery and the tragic lives that they are forced to lead as a result. The reality is that in many countries around the world, including Bangladesh where we operate, this danger is a very real one for young women. Bengali girls are often trafficked across the border into India where they are drugged, raped and forced into a life of beatings, slavery and prostitution in a brothel.
It is also a reality, however, that girls that are able to stay in school are much less likely to end up in sexual slavery. Not only is education a short term protection from these atrocities, however, but it is a long term solution as well. Brothels are able to operate so freely because women are kept silent and disempowered in too many countries around the world. By educating girls in countries like Bangladesh, however, we are creating a new generation of women who will not sit silently while their sisters and daughters are exploited and abused.
So again, I thank you for your contribution and the effect that you are having on the lives of the children that you sponsor. The effects of your generosity will go well beyond the uniform you purchased or the tuition you paid. You will change their lives forever in a very real way.
On February 20, 2010 IRFF-Bangladesh held its scholarship presentation ceremony for the students of the Jaigeer and Utter Bakchar Primary Schools who were receiving scholarships from Supporting Success. The event was held at the Jaigeer Peace Center of the Jaigeer School and over two hundred students, guests, government officials and local residents attended the ceremony. The chief guest was the renowned lawyer and social worker, Advocate Aftab Hossain, and the Master of Ceremonies was the Assistant Head Teacher Shamsul Huq. During the ceremony, one student representative of the scholarship recipients, one guardian, and teachers of each school gave a speech expressing their gratitude for the scholarships and the impact they are having on the local children.
This is the third year that IRFF has provided scholarships to children from the villages of Jaigeer and Utter Bakchar, allowing them to continue their studies into high school. In total, thirty local children are now having all of their expenses for school covered and are going to have the opportunity to finish high school, a rare thing in the rural areas of Bangladesh. Many of these students would not be able to attend school beyond the fifth grade without the support of IRFF’s program and their lives have been changed as a result. Thank you to all of you who donated so generously to Supporting Success for making this a reality for them.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
As you know, the Supporting Success Scholarship Fund has been providing scholarships to primary school students in Zambia whose families could not afford the cost of a public education, which was not free. We are now happy to announce that the national government of Zambia has recently decided to provide a free education to all students through the seventh grade. Supporting Success is excited about the potential to expand educational opportunities to many more children in Zambia, but we will monitor the situation to determine the effectiveness of the government's efforts. We will also continue to sponsor those students that are entering the 8th grade with scholarships, and will continue to provide scholarships to our current students when they reach that grade.
Because of the decreased need for our support in Zambia, we are now shifting our fundraising focus to the students that we support in Bangladesh, where we will be providing scholarships to 30 students this year. Our page on GlobalGiving.com now reflects that change.
We look forward to your continued generosity as we continue our efforts to expand access to education in developing countries. Supporting Success will be participating in GlobalGiving's Give More - Get More Challenge from now until December 1st, where each donation will be matched by up to 50%. We also have the chance to win up to $5,000 in bonus prizes. Thank you again for your support, and please donate now!
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