Bidyanondo: A haven for the deprived
'I can't forget my uncertain childhood, when I used to struggle with poverty and hunger. However, I had a dream! I wish to get little facilities to continue my education, I wish to read a lot of different books in a public library, and I wish to get such facilities where everything is absolutely free of cost. I wish someone would provide me such facilities. Reality was not same as I wish on that time. I couldn't continue my study for three years for financial crisis. I was always used to fail in the exam and treated as a failure from my school, from my friends and even from my family."
--- Bidyanondo Kishor Kumar Das, Founder- Bidyanondo Foundation, was reminiscing his childhood.
Bidyanondo (LearnForFun) was established at Bondar, Narayanganj dated on 22nd December 2013. On August 2013, in a family meeting, Kishor proposed to establish a volunteer based social charity organization from where deprived students will get free educational support to improve their IQ. Bidyanondo assists students in their regular education, IQ improvement, social awareness and inspiration. It includes academic coaching, library facility ( Open for all ) and online video tutorials. Other than these, basic social activities- such as, monthly birthday celebration for kids, framing childhood through pictures, students counseling, morning snacks for kids, festival & winter clothes distribution and other awareness activities are also conducted by Bidyanondo .
Though they are providing more than 1100 packets food to students, street children & old aged/physically disabled people for daily basis, their core activity is to ensure education for poor children.
"I was suffering from fever then, building was under construction, and we took our first class of Bidyanondo on a yard in front of that building. At the very first time, there was a large percentage of drop out as because of guardians' unwillingness to continue their kids' education. They prefer sending kids for earning money rather sending them to attend class", Says Mrs Shipra Das, General Secretary- Bidyanondo Foundation.
After taking classes on mat for couple of months they got our first class room in a library. But there were a lot of challenges they faced to continue this project. Guardians' reliability, child labour, early/child marriage made us taking more responsibility for the society and then we took decision to open our second branch at Chittagong.
Nafiz Chowdhury, Branch Head and Finance Sectary of Bidyanondo, says, "A large number of poor students who achieved good CGPA in SSC & HSC couldn't get chance to public university only because of the lack of good guidelines and financial incapability to do admission coaching. Even they don't know - what public university is! 26th March 2014, we started our second branch on Chittagong. Including regular educational coaching, we have started some great project from this branch. We have started free university admission coaching, 1Tk Meal project, Scholarship program, framing childhood for school going kids and other regular events from this branch."
Bidyanondo started third branch at Mirpur, Dhaka on 4th July, 2014. Along with regular education coaching, they are running 1TK Meal project, 1Tk Healthcare, 1Tk Legal support, Education for old aged people from this branch. Excluding that, they are arranging some unique events from here- visiting old age home with kids, enjoying amusing rides of Fantasy kingdom with 200 street children, arranging photo shoot for newly married couple to capture their golden moment, participating different programme with street kids and so on.
Bidyanondo discourages students to learn by memorizing, rather it teaches them how to think. It also emphasizes on building students' own capacity. This organization is not a comprehensive educational system, rather it assists students to develop foundation for academic education. It inspires them to fight back against social and financial challenges. Major activities include:
Free coaching/classes: They take class for regular basis seven days a week for underprivileged students (play group to class 12). Along with the officials, volunteers from different universities and corporate level are taking the classes from morning to till evening. Recently they have started class for old aged people at Dhaka branch. They have now more than 1200 students in 8 branches.
Orphanage & Old age home: They have two orphanage at Ramu, Cox's Bazar and Baliakandi, Rajbari which has 200 students capacity. Other than this, very soon, they are going to start Old age home at the same place.
1Tk Meal Project: It is their most popular project. Behind this project, there was some bad experience Mr. Kishor had in his childhood. Because of financial crisis, he used to take food from Mandir for several days and realized the odd part of taking food from a queue. On 15th May 2015, they started this project and till now it hasn't stopped for a single day. Per day, they are providing around 1100 food packs to street children, old aged beggars and some disabled people in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Mymensing, Rangpur and Ramu, Cox'sbazar. We are taking 1Tk. Token money from them to send them a message that - they are not begging or getting free food from us, they are purchasing the food from us. Under this project we have already distributed around 2.5 lac packs food. Last Ramadan, we have distributed 35000 Ifter & Sehri packs and distributed 54000 packs food during flood in North-Bengal (Rowmari, Kurigram). This year, we are planning for large scale Ifter & Sehri distribution.
Healthcare facilities: They have started healthcare facilities for street children & elderly/disabled people for daily basis under the project 1Tk. Healthcare from 5th January this year. Professional doctors are working voluntarily for regular basis.
University admission coaching programme: This programme started in 2014. Among 75 students, 14 students got admitted in different public universities including University of Dhaka and University of Chittagong. They provide free coaching, free coaching materials, counseling, transportation cost to participate the exam, admission fee after getting chance and monthly scholarship (if required). This year they are planning the same. Saeed Ahsan Khalid, Volunteer, is coordinating this project.
Scholarship: They are providing monthly scholarship for more than 100 students across the country. Other than this, they arrange IQ test in different schools and provide them scholarship according to their merit.
Free library facilities for all kinds of users: Bidyanondo has around 8000 different books in its eight branches. Library is open for all from morning to till evening. All users from 18 years of age (excluding Bidyanondo students) can use this library for study purpose.
Framing childhood memories for primary school going kids: This was a unique project and they took around 11300 photos of school going students from different part of Bangladesh. Main purpose of this project was to capture childhood memories for poor students who don't have the capability to do that. After capturing them, they printed & laminated all these photos and give back to them within three days.
Happiness distribution: Under this project Bidyanaodo distributes new clothes, winter clothes, shoes, etc to the poor people during Eid, Puja & other festivals and during natural disaster. It distributed clothes to kids in different hospitals, jails and in schools. This winter, it has distributed 1000 new jackets to poor student of Panchagarh, and other than these we have provided the same to our regular students.
Providing educational materials: Bidyanaodo ensures education materials to students and they do it in event basis. At Gobindaganj, Gaibandha event, they distributed educational materials to the kids who were victimized during Santal incident.
Other activities: They arrange extra-curricular activities like book reading competition, birthday celebration, movie day, music and drawing lessons, etc. to make students socially matured. And also provide legal support for the poor people who are victimized mistakenly and unable to provide lawyer's fee. Apart from these they have initiated monthly scholarship programme for poor students based on their performance. They want to do whatever is valuable for students, rather than tagging for a special role.
In 8 branches across the country, they have total 986 registered students and 350 non-registered students (Narayangong: 120, Chittagong: 156, Dhaka: 160, Cox's Bazar: 140, Rajbari: 130, Rangpur: 90, Rajshahi: 120, Mymensingh: 70). They have 90 registered volunteers and around 250 volunteers working for regular basis 18 full-time & part-time employees to execute this large scale project a success.
Bidyanondo's mission is to break the poverty cycle of their lives, provide educational environment and support to underprivileged students for being better resources of the country, ensure equal opportunities for them and make ready for their career.