At the end of March, a group of foster and higher-study children travelled to Mymensingh (a Middle-Northern historical district of Bangladesh) as a part of a study tour.
Every year, an excursion is arranged, by The Sreepur Village, to a nearby region which is considered historically and/or geographically educational. During the tour, the children learn a great deal whilst also enjoying themselves.
In Bangladesh, schools mostly rely on textbooks to teach students. School children are encouraged to learn by memorisation, instead of understanding what they are reading. Very few educational institutions arrange study tours for their students, but The Sreepur Village regularly arranges study tours for abandoned and fostered children. Trips to visit important historical places, museums, etc., can increase students’ learning and understanding and promote their psychosocial development.
On a beautiful sunny morning in Bangladesh, everyone met at the bus at 7.30 am to set off for a long and exciting day, with an estimated return time of 7.30 pm. The children were a little nervous about such a long day and feeling tired, but this was soon surpassed with excitement. The breathtakingly scenic journey and wonderful weather kept everyone going well into the evening. There were 28 people in total attending the trip – four supervisors and 24 students.
The destination was the historic Mymensingh. The itinerary was packed with a visit to the famous painter, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin’s, Art Gallery followed by a trip to the Brahmaputra River and then finally the Mini Zoo and Botanical Gardens of Bangladesh Agricultural University.
The Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Museum is home to the collection of works and preservation of Zainul Abedin's art. Every piece of art in this archive bears the stamp of the traditional folk art of Bangladesh.
The walking tour to the bank of Brahmaputra River provided an opportunity for the students to take part in a fun cultural programme, plenty of photos were taken as the children learned in this fun and inspiring environment.
At the mini-zoo, the students observed lots of different species of birds and animals.
Finally, after a delicious lunch, the last stop was to explore the botanical gardens.
The campus of the university hosts a rich botanical garden, with collections of rare, native and exotic plants. The children learned about medicinal plants, trees and their timber, plants for bio-combustibles, toxic and poisonous plants, palms, bamboos, cacti, aquatic plants, trepadoras plants, ornamental plants and native fruit plants. The whole afternoon was spent under thousands of spectacular trees and so much was learned about them.
True to schedule everyone arrived safely back at The Sreepur Village at 7.30pm, filled with the delights of the new experiences and knowledge gained from the day, with anticipation for the next day trip and the discoveries this will hold.
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Out of the blue, at the tender age of 13, Chia found herself sitting on a bridal stage, about to marry a man who was 35 years old. Her parents had arranged the match, finding the man from their nearby locality in Bhairab.
He was a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businessman who occasionally sold vegetables and fruits on the street. Chia's aspirations and youthful dreams were abruptly interrupted by this sudden marriage. Instead of books, she found herself with kitchen utensils in her hands. She went from feeling like a princess to becoming a servant overnight.
Sumi's journey is a testament to her resilience and determination to create a better life for herself and her child. Her success serves as an inspiration to all those facing adversity, reminding us of the transformative power of support, training, and the opportunity to rebuild one's life.