In Bangladesh, 6-year-old Ahsan had to drop out of school. His father’s drug habit left Ahsan without the fees he needed to attend classes. Today, Ahsan is back in school, and his dad has a successful career, thanks to the changes World Vision sponsorship brought to their village.
Six-year-old Ahsan’s face radiates joy as he heads off to his first day of school with his happy classmates. It’s a dream come true for the little boy growing up in northwestern Bangladesh — a dream he never thought possible.
In their village of Gaiyanpara, Ahsan and his 14-year-old brother, Latif, struggled to get by. Their father, Rafikul Islam, was a drug addict and wasted what little money the family had on his habit. Without a job, he spent his time aimlessly with friends, caring little for Ahsan and Latif, or their mother, Rumali Begum.
“Since I was born, I have only seen my father taking drugs, and I do not know what fatherly love and care is,” Ahsan says.
Rumali tried as best she could to care for her boys on her own. But without an education, her opportunities were extremely limited. She couldn’t afford her boys’ school fees, so they had no option but to drop out. Many Bangladeshi children struggle to get an education. While about 80 percent of children attend primary school, less than half attend high school.
When World Vision came to their community, Ahsan was registered for sponsorship, and he was able to return to school.
“If I continue to receive support for my education, I will make every effort to achieve my dream to become a successful businessman in the future,” he says. “I will become educated and help my people.”
In addition to helping Ahsan, sponsorship funds also provided classrooms with new desks and supplies. The money also helped build new classrooms and latrines, which reduce the spread of disease in Ahsan’s community. Water tanks were constructed to give children and their parents access to clean, safe drinking water.
Meanwhile, parents are learning how to better care for their children through training in nutrition, health and hygiene, positive parenting, and other topics. Parents in very impoverished circumstances are learning business and vocational skills.
Ahsan’s father attended the training and received the help he needed to change his life.
World Vision helped him get a three-wheeler van to start a driver business. He is now able to earn income ferrying people and goods. He also works as a day laborer during harvest season to earn more money for his family and to purchase crops as well. He can now afford not just the school fees for his sons but also medical expenses and nutritious meals for them.
“Now my father is so good to us,” Ahsan says. “The van has become a great support for our family. When I am sick, my father escorts me by his van to the doctor, as he does for other people in our village. He, as well, helps out the community people who need to have the van in their urgent need.”
Sponsorship has also allowed Ahsan’s mother to join a savings group, which helps her and her husband save for Ahsan and Latif’s future education. Ahsan is hopeful and excited about tomorrow because of how World Vision sponsorship has helped educate not just himself, but also his family and community.
Ahsan says, “Education is important to me because it will help in the future.”
Sponsorship has helped Ahsan’s community in Bangladesh in many ways, including: