Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Explain your project in details:
Amader Ishkool (AI) has started its journey in 2007 with an objective to bring some changes in education & engage youths in constructive activities. The mission & vision of this organization are as follows: (i) To enable students specially the village school students to cope with the challenges of the 21st century by widening their general knowledge , (ii) To develop the scientific & mathematical talents of the students specially the village school students by eliminating their aversion to science & mathematics, and (iii) To raise consciousness against different social odds & inconsistencies. To achieve its objectives, the organization has undertaken numerous programs. Its main program is to organize an inter-school quiz contest where students participate in a written contest to answer questions on general knowledge & mathematics. 30 students based on their performance in the quiz contest are awarded prizes. Most of the competitions being held in the urban areas, this competition helps rural students prepare for their future career. We also organize mathematics camps for the students of class 6-10 in the rural schools. In rural areas, another problem is the drop-out of students from schools because of extreme poverty which does not let them have proper meals let alone get the required stationery items for their education. Our organization provides stationery materials to around 20 students every year depending on the funding availability. Though scarce in Bangladesh, libraries are mostly located in the urban areas. Therefore, the rural students are always deprived of reading books. AI book reading program encourages the rural students to read extra-curricular books free-of-cost. We also organize essay competition, students' write-up competition to raise awareness about climate change & against early marriage, corruption, environment pollution. AI has recently initiated a blood donation program to help people in need of life-saving blood.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Since inception Amader Ishkool is working for achieving sustainability. We organize academic contests, arrange math workshop, conduct book reading program that leads the community towards SDG-4 goal i.e. quality education. Financial assistance provided to poor & meritorious students also lead attain the SDG goal# 1 (No poverty). We also publish a yearly magazine named SIDR with a view to fostering the creativity of students by publishing their write-ups in a colorful mainly hand-written magazine. The magazine started its journey in 2007 when the devastating cyclone SIDR (meaning 'an eye') passed over Bangladesh causing great havoc and causalities to the southern part of Bangladesh. The magazine, bearing the same name, carries the nightmare memory of the cyclone. The magazine also publishes write-ups that targets to make the people of the community aware of climate change. We have a plan to conduct tree plantation programs in the near future. These activities will helps us to attain SDG goal#13 (Climate action). In 2017, on the occasion of 10 years celebration, AI conducted a public survey to evaluate our activities. We got a lot of appreciation from many students. Rashed Khan, a diploma engineering graduate, wrote that he has been very much benefited by participating in the quiz contest of AI. It helped him a lot for his preparation for higher studies. A teacher wrote that Amader Ishkool is doing very exceptional things by arranging lots of programs that are very helpful for the students specially for university admission test and job recruitment test.
Sustainability and future plans
The financing source of Amader Ishkool is mainly corporate donations. Other sources are the membership fees, & donation from external people. Being located in rural areas, finding donations is challenging for us. In spite of that we have managed some corporate donors such as Matador, Rokomari, etc. All the programs run by AI are free of cost to the students. For the inter-school programs (inter-school quiz contest) , we form clusters with the nearby schools & bring them to a common venue for the competition. For individual school programs such as mathematics workshop, our team goes from schools to schools to conduct the workshop. In terms of member recruitment, we use the head-hunting method to attract the brightest & most talented students of the community. So we make the membership criteria less stringent for them. Rifat Khan, who stood first in the inter-school quiz contest in 2016, is one of them. He wrote that he feels very proud to be member of AI & he has been benefited a lot from AI. To train our members for their future career, we have initiated a program named Membership Development Program under which we organize different training programs to train our members and volunteers. Sometimes, we offer job recruitment mock test & sometimes we arrange seminar for them. We also offer scholarship to the members who are very talented. Al these programs help us attract & retain the good minds in our organization. Our future plan is to expand our work through the whole Jhalokathi district & increase the involvement of the mass people of the region. We also have a plan to initiate a tree plantation program very soon to combat climate change. In short, we want to make this planet more livable for our future generations.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am now 30 years old, doing my PhD in Electrical Engineering. I was born in a village of Jhaloakthi and had both my primary and secondary education there. As I was educated in villages, I understand the situation of the rural students---what they suffer from, what are their problems. They do not have access to good teachers specially for mathematics and science. Most of the students are very afraid of mathematical problems and cram mathematical solutions. Unlike urban students, they even do not have access to lots of competitions for self-evaluation. In 2007, while I was in my junior year at the Bangladesh University of Eng and Tech, I realized that I have to do something for my villages. Therefore, I formed a small team with my school friends. We thought that a competition will be a good start as we believe that there are no other alternatives to encourage students other than competitions and awarding them based on performance. Later, we involved more youths and expanded the number of schools.