Monday, 18 February, 2019

Shagorika: A selfless persona

Published on: 11:55 am - Saturday | March 3, 2018

“Back in 2005, I was an NGO worker. I was working with a project of DFID about raising awareness about water and sanitation hygiene.  In a courtyard meeting, once some women told me, “Madam, can you please do something for us? About the education of our kids?” I was astonished – how could they read my mind? They understood that I always wanted to do something for those unheeded people and their children’s education,” says Shagorika Das, with a smile and a humble tone.
Shagorika also came from a slum. But she was lucky as she could survive that impoverished environment. But not everyone is fortunate like Shagorika as the hurdles are not so easy. So the desire to bring a positive change and do something for the people who cannot afford a privileged lifestyle always haunted her. She was saying the beginning of her story.
“I am a literature enthusiast person. I used to go TSC after finishing my job for poetry recitation. There, I met Shohag, an energetic young man with big dreams in his eyes.  Somehow our thoughts synced. We had the same mentality and endeavour to bring change in the society.  So, the dream making started with a very small room, some chalks, blackboard and only 13 students were there. We rented a room in a mess with only 300 taka. Shohag and I was the only teacher then. After one month Lutfa Nahar joined here as a teacher,”asserts Shagorika.
These souls aimed to make the children ideal citizens. There was no intention for taking financial help from others. So she stuck to the plan that they will never plead for money from others. “In 2007, the school was registered and just after one year of the registration, Shohag left the world. I was shocked about the sudden demise of Shohag. This school was his dream project. To commemorate him we changed the name and put Shohag’s name with it,” said Shagorika.
Shohag’s sudden demise made her so lonely. “One day a man named Shawkat Hossain came to visit my place. He was astounded to see the school and our hard work. He supported me mentally and financially.  There were times when I thought- let’s shut down Swapnodhara. But this man had motivated me and encouraged me to go forward. Later Mahmudul Hasan Shohag, CEO of Onnorokom group joined us in 2013.”
“How is Swapnodhara going now?”- In reply, Shagorika said, “Very well. We have 16 regular teachers and few weekly teachers for cultural activities. There are three shifts in this school and we have classes from playgroup to grade 10. Our students are PSC and JSC examinees and their result is satisfactory. We take very small amount of money from the students.”
After I finished the conversation with Ms. Shagorika, Lutfa Nahar, the first teacher of this school came. “How it feels to teach the kids for 12 years?” In reply Lutfa says, “It feels like home. Just like the soul cannot be separated from the body, I cannot detach myself from this school.”
Every morning we wake up, go for work, work like machines, earn money and at the end of the day blame the society for the system and its condition. But there are many selfless people who are trying heart and soul to bring changes in society and bring welfare for the mankind.”

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