Sabina’s bright future
At 17, Sabina is an outstanding student who received an A on her 2014 Secondary School Certificate exam, placing her among the top students in her community.
But despite this, and like so many girls in her community also brimming with potential, Sabina’s future was in jeopardy.
It’s not traditional for girls to continue their education here, something we’re working with the community to change, but it runs deep. And it has its own logic in a place where gender roles are strictly drawn, families are desperately poor, schools are far away, costs are high, and there are so many urgent, competing needs. Plus, parents need a dowry for their girls, which is about equal to the expenses of one year’s schooling.
All of this contributes to the staggering fact that 90% of girls here have traditionally been married by the time they are 18.
But Sabina’s dream is to be a teacher. And with the help and encouragement of her teachers and Plan staff, she worked hard to convince her family to renew their commitment to her education.
Sabina heads off to school
“I got an A on my examination so I could inspire my father to help me keep going. This dream has come true and now I am enrolled in a very good school and looking forward to a brighter future,” says Sabina with pride.
Her father nods in agreement.
“My relatives, neighbours and I are very proud. I am a poor farmer and couldn’t help her, but she did it on her own and now tutors her younger sister.”
Sabina takes a break from studying to laugh with her siblings.
Sabina has to get up every day at 5am to make the journey to school, which includes a ride in one of the community’s new school boats. But her long day doesn’t hold her back from other activities.
“I have participated in most of the events in our community,” she says, “and I am also the secretary of our Children’s Organization and general member of the Child Protection Group.”
Sabina and her mother
Asked about her hopes for the future, Sabina says she wants to see an end to the practice of child marriage. More immediately, she’s excited about being chosen to be one of the new swimming trainers who will help local children learn how to stay safe in a region of frequent floods – so her dreams of teaching are already coming true!
Click here to return to the Hatibandha homepage