Being a teacher, Tamanna Sarker Moni was well aware of the importance of education, which gave her reasons to consider establishing a school in the char area of Munshiganj’s Dighirpar union in the wake of a major erosion of the Padma River.
The 1988 erosion caused three villages in the union – Sharishabana, Dhanakomra and Kandharabari – to disappear from the map, but people later returned to live in the char rising from the river.
There was only one problem: no public or private school had been founded to educate the local children all these years.
“I came to visit the place one day which is when the thought of imparting education came to my mind,” Moni, assistant teacher of Mahakali Dhalibari Government Primary School, told the Dhaka Tribune.
She said her mother was also a source of inspiration for her in establishing Sharishabana Shamsul Haque Sarker Memorial Elementary School, which was named after her father, Shamsul Haque.
Moni, who is also a well-known cultural activist in Munshiganj, worked hard to establish her school alongside her job.
Her efforts included going door to door to persuade people into educating their children, and trying her level best to obtain the Education Ministry’s permission for running the school. The permission has not yet been granted.
She also approached the rich in the area, and asked for assistance to develop the school.
“My goal for establishing the school was to provide education for the underprivileged children,” Moni observed.
The school started formally with pre-primary students and also first-graders at the yard of Seku Sikder’s house at Sharishabana village on September 20 last year.
Since then, the school is operating without any building and more than 250 students now attend classes under the open sky.
But Moni did not give up on her dream to enlighten children just because she did not have a building to run the school. And her endeavours eventually paid off as Dighirpar union parishad Chairman Arif Halder donated 0.28 acres of land this year to erect a school building.
Besides, Moni herself also donated a 0.07-acre land for the school’s development.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Seku Sikder said he did not want to see his own children remain illiterate. “That is why I agreed to let Moni run the school in my yard.”
At present, three part-time teachers work at the school and they are paid a paltry sum every month. The government has distributed 150 sets of books among the school’s students this year.