According to the Government of Bangladesh, Primary School Education is free in government schools. The reality is that “free” translates as 400 BDT minimum per child and month. What for? Monthly school fee, admission fee, exam fees, electricity fee, plus uniform, books and other materials, as well as considerable tuition costs. Considering a monthly family income of as little as 2500 BDT and often three to five children in want of education, this is an impossible task for poor households. So sending a child to school costs a family at least 400 BDT while a child that works, as helper on the bazaar, or in a teashop, or in a factory, or on a brickfield earns about 500 Taka monthly. For families where the income is hardly enough to buy two meals a day for everyone, it is unfortunately often foreseeable which option they will choose. The benefits a working child brings to his/her family, are clearly visible every month, while the benefits a student can bring to his/her family only pay off after ten or more years of continuous investment into his/her studies. Poor families often do not have the mentality to plan for a decade or longer.
The AsharAlo school scholarship program has been formulated by MATI Cooperative in order to assist poor parents in their dilemma. The idea came from a previous German volunteer who observed the difficulties the families were facing with financing education for their children. So AsharAlo wants to be a “ray of hope” on which the young generation can climb into a better future. Mati supports children from primary school.
This way, over 150 children and young adults received a monthly stipend in 2012. The families spend the money on private lessons, school material, food, clothes and medication. Every purpose that serves the well being of the family is sanctioned by MATI Cooperative, who regularly control what the stipend money is being used for. The majority of supported children are girls. Selection criteria for the scholarship is apart from great destitution the explicit wish of the child to got to school and the parent’s pledge to support it as far as possible. The employees of Mati keep a regular contact and visit the families to be able to help with problems as well as control that the stipend money is spent for the ultimate benefit of the supported child.
Additionally to the monthly stipends, which are paid directly to the children and their mothers, „AsharAlo“ also contributes to the costs of school uniform, books and school fees.
These scholarships have proven themselves as an excellent tool to protect girls from child marriage. In general they protect poor children from being sent to work in exploitative conditions.
For that reason we do not have a prestigious office in the capital Dhaka, as our focus groups do not live next to the embassies and foreign agencies in Gulshan or Banani, but in the slums of Mymensingh or in remote, underserved villages far out in the countryside.
Sponsorships can be taken over for a yearly contribution of between 80-120 Euros per child.
If you are interested to help to send a child to school please contact us via email: [email protected] We will be happy to send you further information. Each sponsor receives a personal,
detailed annual report about the child and its family.