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The school boat!

In Hatibandha, ensuring that girls stay in school is one of the best ways there is to stop child marriage and put an end to the cycle of poverty and its devastating effects on children and families.

But doing that isn’t only about building schools, training teachers and changing attitudes toward gender equality. In this area, where isolated farms become tiny islands in the rainy season, one of the main barriers to educating girls is the difficult and often dangerous walk through waist-high water on the way to and from school each day. The trek is a long one, but it’s also unsafe. Girls were at risk of being harassed, causing parents to keep their daughters at home.

A girl wading through water to get to school in Hatibandha.

The way it was – an arduous journey.

In a community where only 7% of secondary students are girls, removing this barrier to education is one of Hatibandha’s top priorities for development.

Thanks to the support of our community sponsors, Hatibandha just celebrated the arrival of five brand new boats to provide a safe, dry trip to school and back every day.

The new boat full children going to school.

More than 500 students now travel a safe route to school on the new boats

While both boys and girls will use these school boats, the impact on girls is particularly great because it can mean the difference between attending school or staying home and losing out on an education. By removing a big barrier to going to school, these boats are helping ferry girls to a brighter future.

“Nobody can stop my education because I am going to school every day on the new boat,” says 14-year-old Shirina.

The community celebrating the new boats.

The entire community came out to celebrate the handover of the boats

The girls’ excitement could not be contained as they took their first trip.

“I have never thought that we would have such nice boats so that I could get to school on time,” says Nasrin, one of the many girls who is now riding one of the new boats every day.

Children getting on a boat to go to school.

All aboard to ship out for school!

Already, attendance at the school has increased, and it’s easy to see why girls are so excited. Thanks to the new boat service, they now have a much better shot at an education and a better life.

Girls getting off boat at school.

Disembarking and ready to learn!

The new boats are just a start. We are also working with the community to provide a second option for girls to continue their education.

We have already completed the architectural plans for a new girls’ dormitory at the secondary school on the mainland. Construction is scheduled to start shortly with the help of community volunteers and parents.

Man looking at blueprints with schoolgirls behind him.

The architect reviews the plans for the new residence as the girls look on.

The first floor layout of the girl’s dorm.

The first floor will provide room for 32 girls.

Families are as excited about these changes as the girls are.

“I will continue the education of my daughter as long as possible,” says one mother. “Education is an asset.”

Three happy girls in Hatibandha, Bangladesh.

Girls in Hatibandha are excited to continue their education.

Thanks to your support, the future looks brighter than ever for girls in Hatibandha.

 

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