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The Story of Jeba: Poverty Could Not Stop Her Studies

In Bangladesh, with urban population growth, the number of slums and the people who dwell in them are rapidly increasing. More than half of the slum inhabitants are children, nearly 15 million boys, and girls. Tanzila Jahan Jeba is one of them.

“My name is Tanzila Jahan Jeba. I am 10 years old. I live in Krishtopur, Dokkhin para with my family. I have two brothers. My elder brother attends class seven at the madrasa and younger brother is in class one. My father Jalal Miah is a garments worker and my mother Salma Akter is a housewife,” Jeba was introducing herself.

Like other favored children in the society, Jeba also wants to study. Wish to wear good clothes. “I have a deep interest to continue my studies and I want to be a doctor,” she said about her dream. “I want to cure my mother as she got severe pain in her foot. I cannot tolerate when she screams in pain,” she added.

Her father is the earning person in the family and her mother also contributes to the family income by doing some sewing works. “When my mother becomes sick, she cannot do any work at all and her income ceased. It’s hard for us to undertake the daily household chores without the help of my mother. My father cannot afford all the expenses including house rent, medicine, and food with his little income,” Jeba was explaining their sufferings.

“It was not easy for me to continue my studies. When I was in grade three, my studies stopped. At that time there were many problems in our family. My mother was sick. She could not work for her foot pain, even could not walk and sewing. We were not able to take 3 meals a day. My parents stopped my schooling. I had to work at home. I had a great desire to continue my studies but I had no choice,” she was describing the obstructions and challenges that she was facing to continue her studies.

This is a very common scenario in the slum areas but it’s disheartening to see a dream break of a helpless innocent child. Jeba attends grade five at Patgudam Govt. Primary School. But she doesn’t know if she can continue her studies or not.

“After 5-6 months I saw that the boys and girls of my neighbor were going to read somewhere. I asked them where they go every day and I came to know that they go to ADRA School where they eat, read and play. ADRA was providing them educational materials, school dress, health support etc. I asked my mother to talk to ADRA authority about my study. But at that time children were full and there were no more seats available. After six months, one child dropped out from ADRA, SISCDP center and I was taken instead of the dropped-out child,” Jeba was explaining how she got admitted into SISCDP center.

After getting enrolled in SISCDP center Jeba is doing great with her studies. The teachers from SISCDP center and her parents are very optimistic that she will obtain a Golden A+ in the PSC exam.

“With the help of our teacher I have participated in various competitions such as Essay Writing Competition, Recite Competition and I have got awards and crests. My mother has received medicine from ADRA, SISCDP center. Her health is better now. She can earn by sewing and starts contributing to our family,” she said cheerfully.

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