The girl from the slums who is helping slum children obtain their primary education



“I want to be a teacher, and I’ll help the deprived slum kid so they can obtain primary education,” Sumaiya said confidently. It was someone dreaming about helping slum kids. Sumaiya, a student of Chalantika Slum Children Development Project (CSCDP) who accomplished her primary education, was expressing her dream to her teacher. She is 12 years old and currently lives in a rented house at Chalantika slum in Mirpur, Dhaka.


Her father is a day laborer by profession and her mother is a housemaid who works for three families daily. Even before Sumaiya was born life brought challenges to her parents. After losing their belongings due to river erosion, they decided to move to Dhaka and look for better opportunities in their lives. “The catastrophic river took away everything from me,” said Sumaiya’s mother having a deep agony. “I came to Dhaka with much hardship and I could hardly manage two meals for my family,” she added.


Sumaiya is the intelligent and smart girl in her class and she is eager to be a teacher. “I want to stand beside the deprived slum kid, I’ve seen the hardship, I can realize their griefs,” said Sumaiya pointing out the slum kid who is living in their slum. Despite being very young and a slum girl, her dreams are big. She doesn’t know whether her dream comes true or not!

“I know there is a lot of money needed to get a higher degree. I do not know if my parents can afford to pay for my studies. Yet, I will not be defeated by my determination,” said Sumaiya with impressive willpower in her eyes. People live with dreams, and this girl is not the exception.


Living in a slum is always a challenge and Sumaiya decides every day to go to school overcoming all her surrounding impediments, and dreaming that someday her life will be changed and she will become a teacher. “I want to make my family financially stable. I want to live in a better place than the slum and continue my studies,” said Sumaiya having her lofty dreams.


Since Sumaiya has accomplished his primary education at the CSCDP center, she has achieved the ability to teach others. CSCDP helped her develop interpersonal and leadership skills.


She is helping underprivileged slum children by providing tuition at home. She is providing tuition for 7 children now. “Since most of the parents in the slum can’t read and write, they can’t take care of their children in terms of helping them with basic education. I decided to teach the slum kid living around my house and help them to acquire basic education. I think this will help them to get admitted to the school. I also help them understand their daily lesson and homework. They enjoy the way I teach them,” Sumaiya was unfolding her intervention for the slum kids.


CSCDP nurtures the creativity of slum children by organizing a wide range of events e.g. drawing competitions, International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day. CSCDP also helps the deprived slum children to develop their creativity by helping them to prepare different types of crafts made of paper.


Sumaiya has got excellent drawing skills. Besides, she always helps her mother with house chores like cooking, collecting water, and cleaning. This striving girl has become famous among her friend groups and in her locality. Everybody admires her for her humble, friendly, and polite manners.


Sumaiya is very creative. She is able to create paper crafts that can draw one’s attention. She prepared a wide variety of crafts for different occasions e.g. Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, and International Language Day. “I would like to do something different using my imagination. I believe everyone has got some dormant skills but most of us can’t discover them. I prepared a couple of crafts for my teachers and for my friends. I’ve learned some crafting skills from my teachers at CSCDP. Everybody liked those crafts and encouraged me to continue my work.”


Maintaining hygiene is a crucial issue for slum children. Thus, CSCDP emphasizes health and hygiene. CSCDP authority teaches the children how to wash their hands properly using soap. Apart from this CSCPD organizes health camps to ensure good health for destitute children.


Click here to watch the video story of Sumaiya.

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