NewsWhen adversity challenges us

Life is at times all smiles, at others it’s an uphill struggle. In 2022, this applies especially to our special school in the slums of Dhaka that is facing multiple challenges.

It is a small school with about 60 pupils, 5 teachers and 1 physical therapist. Thirty children are taught in the morning and the other 30 in the afternoon. The children are from vulnerable families, families who have to make ends meet on less than a euro a day.

In March, the school suddenly lost its beloved principal Rabeya. She was the key figure of the school, a woman of many talents who not only ran the school in a unique way, but also lent staff, parents and children a sympathetic ear. Her loss is felt deeply. But the team pulled together and two staff members (an experienced teacher and the physical therapist) took on Rabeya’s duties as best they could. And they made it work, until they had to face more adversity.

Challenges

In May, this teacher lost her father and was the only one left to care for her aggressive brother who has severe autism. The physical therapist gave birth to a stillborn baby and became infected with COVID-19 in the hospital. Since then, she has been fighting for her own life in the Intensive Care Unit.

Finding a new principal and temporary physical therapist for the school is anything but easy. First of all, there are too few well-trained people specializing in special education, and secondly, few people want to work in the slums. Consequently, the right candidate has not been found in the first round of applications.

To reduce the workload for the remaining team members, we decided to reduce the school’s work to its core activities: physical therapy by an experienced field worker and special education. All other activities at the school have stopped temporarily, such as starting additional sex education classes and starting social networks and discussion groups in the community. We have also dialed down our reporting requirements for the time being, so that the team can fully focus on the children and their parents. We hope that you will understand and trust that the situation will improve in the coming months.

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