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New year, new horizons in Hatibandha

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it’s been – particularly for the people of Hatibandha, Bangladesh. Much has changed since your sponsorship first brought us to this community.

Anju smiles brightly inside her home.

Before your support, girls like Anju used to feel like everything stood in their way of achieving their dreams. They were blocked at nearly every turn from receiving an equal education. Devastating seasonal floods kept girls from attending school across the river. Even when dry, the journey put girls in harm’s way, and many were forced to stay home. Several girls feared they would be brides and mothers before their 18th birthdays due to traditional beliefs on child marriage. Without equal access to education, employment and health care, Anju and her friends felt they had no voice, or chance to be heard.

That is, until you came along and helped answer their call.

Today, five years later, Anju is 17 and feels unstoppable.
“Now I can speak up on girls’ issues in the community,” she proudly exclaims.

4 smiling girls hold up signs saying “Thank you Canadian sponsors”.

Your sponsorship has given everyone in Hatibandha something to celebrate this new year! Together, you and the hardworking families, nurses, volunteers and young changemakers of the community have created a society where all girls, boys and families can unleash their full potential. Thank you.

Because of your support:

  • Local government has declared its intention that the neighbourhood become a child marriage-free zone.

    Girl and boy laughing
    • The whole community has rallied together through song and sport in support of children and women’s rights, celebrating important days like International Day of the Girl.
    • “Community Sponsorship has taught us to stay together to address the social challenges and ensure the education of our girls and boys. Sponsors have supported us to realize our own strengths so that we can stop child marriage.” – Ms. Anwara
  • Nearly all community children who were not registered at birth have now secured this vital document.

    Girl with text book in a field
    • Birth certificates and proper identification open doorways to a better future in which individuals can vote, work, open bank accounts and travel more freely.
    • “I go to school every day because I want to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor. My purpose is to serve my community and ensure their good health.” – Esmot, 12
  • A new girls’ dormitory houses 52 girls, and large engine boats are taking students safely across the flooded river to and from school.

    group of girls with books
    • Thanks to the dormitory you helped fund, the girls are happily participating in extracurriculars and performing better academically.
    • “Now getting to and from school is easier thanks to the engine boat from Community Sponsorship. We no longer miss our classes and are doing well in our studies!” – Sharif, 13
  • Over 3,400 students are benefitting from new teaching, learning and play supplies.

    girl smiles with plan backpack
    • With the help of your added commitment to improve education, nearly all 397 students who took their primary education completion exam passed (up from 64% previously).
    • “I go to school every day... Bangla is my favourite subject and I like to read it very much.” – Parvin, 9.
  • Families and children are taking measures to protect themselves against devastating annual floods.

    construction in the community
    • You have helped families preserve their homes and livelihoods by funding disaster prevention activities like mock drills, elevating homes (plinths) and fighting river erosion.
    • “I have been supported through Community Sponsorship to raise the plinth. Now floodwater cannot damage my house. I can keep goats and other livestock in a comfortable way... Other villagers have raised their plinths after seeing the benefits.” – Nabijal, 45
  • 400 students are now drinking safe, clean water at primary school and practicing healthy hygiene behaviours.

    girl using a water pump
    • Something as simple as access to clean water makes a world of difference in the lives of children: letting them be free to be kids – to learn and play equally, in good health.
    • “Our school is always kept neat and clean and there is a hygienic toilet. Our teachers treat us with care.” – Bobita, 13
  • 60 young adults and women are sewing their way towards a brighter future.

    ripa sewing with her mom
    • Now equipped with sewing machines and the training and capacity to earn their own living, these entrepreneurs are not only increasing their incomes, they’re also boosting their self-esteem.
    • “I received a sewing machine and training through Community Sponsorship. Now, I am working and earning in my community,” says 37-year-old Nasima, who can now better provide for her children’s education costs and other family needs. – Nasima, 37


This kind of holistic transformation is only possible thanks to community sponsors like yourself, who believe in the potential of every person to Defy Normal.

Mohammed – Anju’s dad – has also learned to believe in himself and in his community’s ability to progress together towards a better tomorrow.

Community Sponsorship has taught us that human capacity is more important than economic capacity. If we understand the importance of our children’s potential, we can create a nurturing environment for them, which will contribute to the family as well as to society.

Hear a heartfelt thanks from Hatibandha’s girls, for all you’ve done to help them thrive:

New horizons

Now the impact of your donations has been expanded, stretching to reach even further parts of Hatibandha – helping more children and families in need to change their lives, Defy Normal and unleash their full potential.

Shakir, a project manager helping put your sponsorship into action in Hatibandha, has witnessed the transformations you’ve helped make possible and is excited to create change with new families in another area of the community.

Shakir smiles at camera
I saw the girls become aware of their own rights, and parents starting to become more supportive,” states Shakir. “The people of this new part of the community have witnessed the changes of Community Sponsorship and are eager to get your support and work hard to change.

By continuing work in new areas, more women will have employment opportunities and the chance to practice their teachings and benefit local families – like Douloton (who became a Community Skilled Birth Attendant thanks to your trainings).

I was trained how to be a Community Skilled Birth Attendant. Now, I have an opportunity to apply my technical knowledge in a new area,” explains 29-year-old Douloton, excited to help her neighbours improve their well-being, as well. “Community people are working relentlessly for the development of their livelihood.

Now’s your chance to meet some new faces in Hatibandha – all of whom are thrilled to have your support to grow and reach their goals.

  • Humayra and her cousin, Noor, play in the yard.

    11-year-old Humayra (at left) has big aspirations: “I would like to change my community by providing health services with low cost service fees for people, especially children, of my area.”

  • Close-up of Afia smiling inside her home.

    Atiar, father of 11-year-old Afia, says: “I did not get the opportunity to study in my childhood. Now, I will have the chance to try my best to educate my children, so that they become educated and enlighten others.”

  • Jolekha smiles as she hands her brother Mirajul a ball.

    Jolekha (14) and her brother Mirajul (9). “My favourite subject to study is general science,” says Jolekha, excited to see her community advance as well.

  • Laam and her brother Saikot happily water a plant.

    11-year-old Laam wants to be a police officer when she grows up and is eager to make her wish a reality with your help.

  • Majida sits on her bed with a stack of books.

    Majida (9) says she likes “to see the green paddy field when the wind blows the plants and they look like they’re dancing in the air,” but she and her brother Shariful (7) dream of even greater progress.

  • Monika and her younger brother Anisur happily hold their school books.

    “I would like to empower girls of my community with job opportunities,” says Monika (14), with her brother Anisur (10). With your help, more families will soon have further chances to earn a livelihood.

  • Munni and her friend smile at one another.

    Munni (9, at left) lives on the bank of the river and enjoys the fresh air and seeing fish be caught. She’s excited to take part in the new play and learning activities your sponsorship will bring.

  • Rozina shows off some vegetables she’s recently harvested.

    “The beautiful view of our area is charming, and the air is fresh,” says 13-year-old Rozina, eager for Community Sponsorship to breathe new life into her community’s agriculture.

  • Sharmeen happily reads a book on her bed.

    In the future, 7-year-old Sharmeen wants to empower herself by learning how to provide for herself. Local life skills trainings can help her to someday get there.

  • Mousumi smiles for a family photo with her mother, father and older brother, Hafijul.

    “I would like to provide free education services for the poor children of my community,” says 10-year-old Mousumi. She can’t wait for school initiatives to expand through your sponsorship.

  • A smiling Rejena.

    10-year-old Rejena’s father, Abdur is excited for Community Sponsorship to help bring change. “I hope it will support us to reduce maternal death, child marriage and gender discrimination in our community,” he says, listing some of the important areas you’ll be helping them tackle to improve.

  • Aklima plays in her flourishing family garden.

    “I like most to read storybooks sitting on the bank of the river,” says 9-year-old Aklima, a bright bookworm and budding student you’re helping back.

  • Sharmin and her younger sister Golapi, smiling brightly.

    “I like the most to see the Tista river and catch ‘Boirali’ fish (a local fish), which is tasty and nutritious for us,” shares 10-year-old Sharmin (at right). She and her younger sister Golapi are keen to gain more resources for growing healthy and strong.

  • Sharmin is on her way to school, wearing her uniform and backpack.

    “The people of my community live a simple life, but what I like most is how we help each other,” says Sharmin S. (10), thrilled to now also have your help to make even more possible.

Norm-defying change is possible, and families you dedicatedly supported, like Anju’s, have already proven it. Now, thanks to you, more families in need across Hatibandha will also gain that chance, enabling them to also work toward a life where children can access their rights, girls can make free and equal decisions, and everyone can thrive. On behalf of families all across Hatibandha – whether equipped-through or entirely-new to Community Sponsorship: Thank you for your continued support!

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