Educating the slums

by Maria Cristina Foundation
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Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Educating the slums
Girls in Dubai
Girls in Dubai

In the last report we told how the girls in Dubai lost their scholarships, after the school ownership changed at the last minute before the new school year started in September. This was heartbreaking. To get them to Dubai, finding their mothers work and sponsorship so that their residence in Dubai is all above board, took months and months and months.

 

Fortunately some extremely kind souls came forward to help out. Some individuals covered their school fees for 6 months year so that they could go back to school without delay. Also the amazing Taleem schools provided 50% scholarships for the girls. They are really enjoying their studies and doing very well.

 

The students still at school in Bangladesh are working hard, all dreaming of one day going to university or taking up internship programs in Dubai.

 

Talking of interns, this program is keeping us very busy, with many businesses supporting this initiative. We realized a long time ago that most of our students in Bangladesh, even the brightest students with a good education, remain disconnected from real opportunities. The barriers they face are often financial, but also societal or cultural, especially the girls.

 

The aim of this initiative is to connect good candidates with good companies in Dubai and internationally. It comes with many challenges, travel, visas, a place to stay and living costs, but the results have been incredible.

 

The intern students have made great starts to new careers with some incredible companies in Dubai, including some renown global brands. Many of the students have even gone on to sponsor their own family members, bringing them to Dubai so that they can enjoy the same new beginnings, full of opportunities.

 

We hope to continue step by step, bringing more students for intern opportunities and keep providing the best education possible to the rest.

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Girls
Girls

This work is exhausting, with every bit of progress there are so many setbacks.

 

The good news is that our girls in Dubai completed their first year at school with good grades. They have kept busy with extra-curricular activities, and some have even found decent jobs for the summer. They are living a life of opportunities that would never be possible back in Bangladesh.

 

But we received a saddening shock when they went to re-register for the new school term last week. They were basically told that their scholarship is not recognized and they have to pay. On further investigation we found that management/ownership has changed completely and those we have managed to speak to refuse to acknowledge any scholarship agreement for these poor girls. So much for a full scholarship until they graduate!

 

The reason we brought these 9 girls and their mothers to Dubai was because of the offer of this scholarship, the difficulties and struggles to settle them in Dubai with all the required residence visa, financial independence etc was immense, and now this huge setback, it really us heartbreaking.

 

In Dhaka, they struggled, the families have been through a lot of abuse, trauma and discrimination. School was virtually nonexistent all through the Covid period. This was a new beginning in Dubai, it would really be a wasted opportunity to send them back to Bangladesh.

 

We are trying hard to find a solution, but they will likely have to pay their school fees if they stay in Dubai, or at least part of it, so we are seeking potential sponsors. The ideal opportunity would be for a new school to offer a full scholarship on the grounds that these families have come so far from their difficult backgrounds, the girls are bright with very good potential for success, a good school will help them go far.

 

For our students still in Bangladesh, things are picking up slowly since covid and they are finally back to school, but they do suffer from a lack of motivation mainly because they know that there are so few opportunities for them once they finish school. It’s for this very reason that we continue our Dubai internship program finding them internships or work with good companies in Dubai with the hope that it will either turn into permanent employment or that they can save some money to finance university.

 

Of course, the Dubai intern program comes with its own challenges, mainly financial, to bring them to Dubai, initial living costs, transport and of course making sure they are well-dressed and presentable for interviews. So we continue to seek funding for this, but the outcome has been very successful so far, with students placed with extremely good companies with good prospects. Some are saving money for university, or some prefer to fund their family members to bring them to Dubai for the same opportunities.

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Another great success story thanks to CHANEL.
However it really all came together thanks to a few people doing their part to help.
Janine Bensouda introduced me to Mihaela Nina at Capital Club Dubai where I attended a few times, and did a talk about my work.
I met Christine Boissarie through this, who has helped in many ways, but especially in this case mentioning my work to Réda Achaïchia at Chanel.
The amazing Reda, soon had 2 of our girls Aklima and Shima, working as interns at Chanel, this was such an amazing experience for them and Aklima is now at University in Portugal doing her Chemical Engineering degree and Shima was later able to bring her brother to Dubai to find work, using the money she saved.
Now, during a recent #Hackathon event, where some incredible energetic teams from Chanel, worked on solutions for social projects, Chanel announced that they want to have another 5 interns for 5 months (No.5 being Chanel's favourite number).
Of course they moved quickly and next week the 5 new interns start work.
This is such an amazing opportunity for these butterflies, thank you so much Chanel and everybody else who helped to make it happen - every little bit helps and each step can lead to great things.

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Yes, they can! 

 

When a student’s parents have no education, cannot even read or write in their native language, can those students make it to university and get scholarships? 

 

The answer is, yes, they can! 

 

12 of our students have been successful getting scholarships at S.P Jain School of Global management, 65%to 80% scholarships. Through this they can study in 1 year in Singapore,1 year in Dubai 2 years in Australia. 

 

We are so proud of these students, they are the first to go to school in their families, first to graduate and now this…scholarships at an international management school. 

 

Now they are seeking ways to pay the remaining percentage of their fees. 

 

We also hope to secure further education for more of our students still in the slums of Dhaka. 

 

We have supported these students for up to 17 years, the main aim has always been to provide a good education, enabling them to have equal opportunities. This is evidence that it is working. 

 

Thank you for your support. 

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Another amazing milestone as a new batch of students arrive in Dubai. Very emotional for me as all these students and 1 mother I have known for 16 years or more.
It's such a hard task for them to travel and I'm not just talking about financial difficulties for tickets and visas (in fact on the Dubai visa side we are very fortunate to have excellent PRO services from Mr Kamal). Some of the biggest difficulties are on the Bangladesh side, having the right paperwork and many permissions required, facing many obstacles and even authorities trying to block their travel right up to the very last minute.
Many, many thanks to those who helped to make this happen and I have to say a special thank you to the UAE embassy in Dhaka who have always been so helpful, none of this would be possible without their help and support.

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Maria Cristina Foundation

Location: St Austell - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MCFConnect
Project Leader:
Katrin Winter
St Austell, United Kingdom
$22,083 raised of $120,000 goal
 
305 donations
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