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Chalantika Slum: Story of An Indigent Child

“My mother brought me and my elder brother to Dhaka to live with my father when I was only 20 days and my brother was 7 years old. Since then we have been living in Dhaka. She had a hard time finding a good job and supporting my father,” said Bijoy, an eleven-year-old boy of Chalantika slum area in Dhaka.

Bijoy, an eleven-year-old bright kid and a dweller of the Chalantika slum, was no less deserving than the others who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. His parents, who could manage to give him three meals a day, unfortunately, couldn’t provide him with the luxury of other basic needs.

There are five members of their family. His father's name is Md. Faisal and his mother’s name is Morjina. Bijoy has 2 siblings, the elder is Hridoy who is 18 years old and younger is Jannatul who is 3 years old. Eleven years back, Bijoy's mother came to Dhaka from Gaibandha district which is located in the northern part of Bangladesh. Faisal, father of Bijoy is a bus driver. For the last 16-17 years, he is driving a bus name “Dishari”. In their family, his father and elder brother are the earning persons.

“My mother used to leave me at home alone, when I wasn’t even one year old,” he said about his loneliness. “She used to work outside of the home to provide us with good foods and to support our family,” he added.

When Bijoy was two years old they had shifted from Mirpur-2 to Chalantika slum, which is predominantly occupied by laborers migrated from different parts of the country. Chalantika is a slum, which lacks every basic amenity needed for a better life. Also, the people here are unaware of the importance of education. That time his elder brother was attending class five, so he had to go to school every day and used to return home by five o'clock in the afternoon. During this time Bijoy had to stay at home alone. One day his mother bought a television so that he could spend time watching the cartoon and other TV shows. “I didn’t get my mother’s milk properly in my childhood because she used to work outside of the home,” Bijoy said with eyes filled with tears.

His father has a bad habit of wasting money on smoking and drinking. So, he can’t provide much from his low income. For this reason, Bijoy's elder brother started working as a child laborer to support the family instead of going to school.

When Bijoy was five years old his mother admitted him to ‘Islamia School' but the schooling was so costlier that they couldn’t bear the expenses. In the meantime, Morjina, mother of Bijoy came to know about CSCDP project of ADRA Bangladesh and soon she admitted him to Grade One in CSCDP Center. Last four years he has been studying here and now he is in Grade Five. Children learn by observing, listening, exploring, experimenting and asking questions, Bijoy also learning so many good things from his school and ADRA center.

“He is by far the best mannered, polite and genuinely kind child I have ever met. He is always the first one done with his work. He offers to help those who are struggling. His classmates love him too because he is genuinely a nice guy. I wish one day his dream will come true and he will have a better future,” said Sinthya, one of the teachers of CSCDP center.

“Mathematics is my favorite subject, I want to do my graduation in Mathematics, become a service holder, and travel the world someday by airplane. I know it's difficult and people may think I'm crazy. But I think I can do this,” Bijoy said confidently about his life goal.

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