SAJIDA Foundation’s Education program for underprivileged children started 30 years back with ten children in 1987 as a humble educational initiative. As the organization grew over the next few decades, education remained a priority and today, SAJIDA’s Education program offers non-formal education and provides scholarships for meritorious students falling within the scope of the SAJIDA’s Nirapotta (microinsurance) program. Additionally, SAJIDA contributes to empowering aspiring young women through computer and knowledge development training through the “Adhunika Women’s Centre.”
SAJIDA’s non-formal education reaches out to over 800 students in the districts of Jamalpur with 21 schools and Sunamganj and Netrokona with 6 schools between the two. The schools are specifically situated in the remote regions of the districts and provide education to children between the ages of 5 and 10 years who had never been admitted to a school or dropped out. Students of these schools are currently enrolled in Class 4 and will be completing their Primary School Certification Examinations by the end of next year.
Education Support Programs
Education Support Program at Primary Levels
SAJIDA Foundation with the support of PKSF, operates a number of specialized schools as part of its Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of Poor Households Towards Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH) and SAMRIDDHI programs. ENRICH, a program designed to elevate the lives of the ultra poor, operates in the Battazore Union under the Bakshiganj sub-district of Jamalpur. This program has 40 Education Support Centres, allowing 1,193 students to have better chances of success at primary levels. The Centres provide lessons every afternoon based on the students’ curriculum and take special care of all children for them to perform better at school and in examinations.
Education Support Programme at Secondary and Higher Levels
The Nirapotta programme, with its social safety net mandate provides scholarships to promising and meritorious children of cardholding members. A monthly scholarship of BDT 500 is awarded to students who meet the eligibility criteria with a stipulation that the student continue his/her academics. So far, the program has awarded 1,555 students with the scholarship with 451 of them pursuing specialized fields of studies that include medicine, engineering and polytechnic amongst others. The program conducts regular status checks to ensure the progress of students and to assess the need for possible further intervention. 2016 saw BDT 6 million being provided as scholarships to promising students.
Education Support Programme for the Ultra Poor
This program provides non-formal education to children who live on the streets through 7 Pavement Dweller Centres (PDC) in Dhaka and Chittagong. These PDCs also have day care facilities and provide pre-primary education to children aged 4-6 years along with providing all students with lessons on hygiene, positive behaviour and sports. Following completion of their pre-primary education, the program supports children to get admitted to formal primary schools. At the Kamalpur PDC, children above the age of 10 years receive non-formal education following the curriculum designed by BRAC. Upon completion of this course, students are encouraged to enter into vocational training schools like the Under Privileged Children’s Education Program (UCEP).
There are 357 children and adolescents enrolled under the Nagar Pathabasi- Amrao Manush programme, including those in the PDCs and in the surrounding primary and secondary schools. Future plans of the organisation’s education program include integrating all education programs so as to improve the quality of the program, thereby developing future leaders from those traditionally left behind.