A talented young man named Jewel Ahmed has opened a school for underprivileged children in Tangail with the slogan 'All children have equal rights.'
In 2002, Jewel, who was then in the eleventh grade, discovered that there were many children in the area who had dropped out of school. He started teaching them at his home – providing free education to 29 such children.
He later opened a school with three teachers for the children, and named it 'Friendship School'.
At that time Jewel used to earn a small amount by giving private tuition to students of English medium schools. He used the money to give the teachers a small honorarium.
Despite facing many obstacles, he refused to give up his dreams of educating these children.
Now, a few years later and with the help of various people, the school has four branches with around 400 students who have been given the opportunity of getting a free education from fifteen teachers of Friendship School.
"All children have the right to education. I took this initiative to provide free education to children who are deprived of these benefits because of poverty," Jewel said.
"My children, these children, will one day grow up and serve the country. So everyone should create opportunities for any child they see around them who has dropped out of school," he added.
Meanwhile, Ambia Begum, the parent of a child who dropped out of school in the second grade, told The Business Standard that she can now send her children to school without having to worry about school fees.
"I work as a maid at other people's houses and my husband is a rickshaw puller. We are a family of six with three daughters and a son. We can barely afford to give our children three meals a day. Education was out of the question," Ambia said.
"But we do not need to pay fees at Jewel sir's school. He even bought my children all their school supplies including books and pens. So we decided to send our children back to school," she added happily.
Another parent in the same slum, Suraiya Begum, said, "I had no dreams about my children. But now I can dream that one day my son will get a good job and we will have a house of our own."
Mayor of Tangail Municipality Jamilur Rahman Miran said, "Jewel's initiative to educate disadvantaged children is undoubtedly commendable. He is very sincere about Friendship School. If other people in society come forward, sustaining these schools will be more than possible."
He also spoke about his willingness to provide financial assistance to schools catering to the educational needs of such disadvantaged children.
Tangail Deputy Commissioner Shahidul Islam said over the phone, "Jewel's effort to educate these children is indeed praiseworthy."
He also promised to give financial assistance to the school.