Larry Summers, when he was chief economist at the World Bank, wrote: “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.”
March 8 is the 100-year anniversary of International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women and reaffirm our commitment to gender equality. This week, Poverty 180 focuses on women in relation to education, clean water, HIV/AIDS and gender-based injustice.
How education for girls turns poverty around in Bangladesh
Please accept my greetings from Bangladesh. I’m Khaleda Akter. I’m 14 years old, and I’m studying for the SSC (secondary school certificate). It is a national exam. I have one brother. My father is a day laborer, and my mother is a house wife. I live with my parents in a small house. My father’s earnings are very small, not enough for our family’s costs.
Not too long ago, I was an irregular student because my father didn’t support me to send me to school.He believed that women cannot go to school, and that only boys are supposed to go to school. As well as this, my family was very poor. For both of these reasons, I was often absent from school.
Food for the Hungry taught my family and me about the importance of education.
While I was going to school, my parents participated in health lessons, a couple’s workshop and many other trainings. Their attitudes and behavior have greatly changed. Now, they help me to be regular in school and to study attentively.
I also took adolescent-focused classes and lessons on Biblical values, and also got the chance to participate in many enriching events sponsored by FH. These experiences have helped me just like the books, tuition fees, Christmas gift and medical support I received.
I learned about respecting parents in my values lessons, and they learned about parenting with Biblical values. My father now behaves well with us. Now, it feels like he is a friend with us.
My mother has also changed much. She used to quarrel with our neighbors. Now, she has joined an FH-sponsored women’s group and is learning Biblical values and basic education. This learning taught her how to relate well with others, so she has stopped quarreling. She loves us much, and she loves others, too.
I used to not mix well with others, but now I do. Now, I’m very happy, and my parents are also happy.
I could not continue my study without this support. God helps me a lot. Please pray for my studies. May God bless you.