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Hello to all our followers,

We are now producing a monthly newsletter via email, where we will keep you up-to-date on all the latest news from Sreepur.

If you want to be added to our mailing list simply email your request to emma@sreepurvillage.org and we will add you on immediately.

Thank you all for your continued support.

The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh

Girl with heart

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Important News

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Announcement

You can now get our regular weekly blogs on our own website. Please visit us at http://www.sreepurvillage.org and sign up for the newsletter, which provides readers with an insight into what we do here at The Sreepur Village charity.

Sreepur Village, Bangladesh

 

Girl with heart

 

A Day with Grade Four Students; The Second Term Exam Results

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TodayGrade four's exam (5), when we arrived at The Sreepur Village’s main gate all of the children of grade four were also wandering in and, in spite of the cloudy and rather wet weather, they were all happily awaiting their teacher to escort them to school.  When our communications team told them that we would go with them they became even more excited. To teach our grade four students we appoint two experienced teachers from outside government primary schools and at around 12 noon until early afternoon, it is these teachers that take the grade four pupils to and from school, one kilometre from The Sreepur Village.

You may be aware that since the beginning of the year, we have adopted a particular method for educating our children, which involves our grade four students attending school outside The Sreepur Village. From next year this will also apply to all grade five students.

At present, the grade four students are taking part of their Second Terminal Annual Examination and today is their last test. With the teacher taking the lead, we together walked the team of 16 students to school and rather than anticipate what questions may arise they, instead, discussed what they would be doing on the three-day holiday following their last test. At that moment, the teacher interrupted their conversations and asked them about their exam preparations and, as quick as the discussions had originally started, the pupils were separated and dispersed around the road.

Grade four's exam (6)

With regard to the school examination system, the primary school’s academic year is divided into three terms. After the end of each term (approx. three and a half-months) they take an exam to assess what they have learnt, which is why this second term exam today was highly important.

For an insight in to attending school outside The Sreepur Village we grabbed the attention of Mamun, the leader of the team because he is the tallest boy in the group.  He said, “I love going to school from my home and even though sir or madam is with us, we still get a chance to have fun. It’s just so cool to go out and about and we also get to have double snacks, which we love”. Finally, he solemnly added, “In spite of the fact we have been suffering from tests these last few days, in just a few hours it will all be over.”

Grade four's exam (10)

When we reached the school, there was just five minutes until the test was to begin so everyone ran into the exam hall.  This gave us the opportunity to talk to their teacher Rahima who said, “These children are a little different from other school students. They are very aware of discipline. Everyone in the school appreciates their drawings. They participate in various cultural programmes. As the representatives of the school we are delighted to be able to teach them.”

Grade four's exam (7)

Finally, we left the team of 16 students to take their test and when they came back in the afternoon they were not just planning their vacation time, but also portraying signs of fear with the upcoming test results looming over their heads. In just a few days, the results of the Second Terminal Annual Examination test will be published but until then it is all fun, fun, fun. Good luck folks!

Grade four's exam (4)

Jamai Mela: A day for Sons-in Law

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How many sons-in-law can one family have? Two, five or ten?  You will be astonished to hear that there are more than 45 sons-in-law in the Sreepur Village family. Every year, we celebrate Jamai Mela (fair of sons-in-law) on our campus, a day-long festival with our married girls (ex-Sreepur girls), and their husbands and children.

During the summer season, a typical Bangladeshi tradition is for people to invite their daughter, son-in-law and grandson. You may be aware that here in The Sreepur Village we fulfil the role of guardian to many orphaned children and even though many of the girls are married, we still show love, care and responsibility for them. This festival is a mark of our affection and support towards them. It gives an opportunity for the girls who have been married outside the area to visit their home-Sreepur Village.

This year we welcomed 20 families, many of which arrived the night before the festival. In the morning, the programme commenced with a breakfast of seasonal fruit and was followed by an introduction and short discussion on various topics. The most exciting part was the ball games, which saw all of the sons-in law and daughters getting involved.  One of the highlights of the day was the delicious lunch and in the afternoon, the families left the campus with a gift and a smile.

Moury, one of our married girls came with her little daughter and husband. We asked her what she thought about the festival. Moury said, “I left the village five years ago and because I now have a job, I just don’t get enough time to visit, but my heart always remains here. I do not have a house or parents so The Sreepur Village is everything to me. I can’t wait for their call and especially for this day because this day is just for us”.

Jamai Mela_ A day for Sons-in Law (7) (1)

Tiku, Moury’s husband said, “my wedding was very special. I married a girl and people used to say she was from an organisation, which didn’t bother me. The Sreepur Village treats me as a son-in-law like other families treat theirs. Pat is here. She is like other mothers. I love joining the festival.

Jamai Mela_ A day for Sons-in Law (1)

For the last two days, all our children were very excited about this programme. They were able to meet with their older sisters, it really made their day.

Please donate here to help other mothers to be able to build themselves a life after Sreepur; and to live happily every after.

Swimming at Sreepur

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Swimming at Sreepur

 

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Every day at three o’clock, Sumi, a seven-year–old girl of Sreepur Village, rushes home from school eagerly wanting to visit the village pond. Keen to get there, when the actual time comes to dip her toes into the welcoming waters, Sumi doesn’t want to enter. When she finally gets in, she makes sure not to let go of her swimming instructor’s hand. Every day Mousumi and her friends Rimon, Sajal and Rani all have similar experiences which, seen from afar, provoke a number of emotions.

Currently, more than 70 children are learning to swim in the village, a programme which started at the beginning of July and is aimed at reducing the number of deaths by drowning. Every day in rural Bangladesh 46 children will die from drowning which amounts to 17,000 per year. Most of the children of Sreepur Village come from the rural riverine area where death by drowning is extremely common.

So, with these statistics it is clear to see why The Sreepur Village started the #SwimSafe programme. Teaming up with CIPRB (Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh)  The Sreepur Village funds qualified swimming instructors to teach the mothers and children of the village how to swim, a scheme which runs for two months this summer and again next year.

Swimming at Sreepur (2)

The swimming lessons are held in the pond, which is sectioned off by using natural bamboo. Using these local resources one can mimic, at low cost, a swimming pool with two sections. One is a low fenced-off platform which creates an artificial water depth of 40-60cm used to gain the children’s confidence and get them accustomed to water. The other section, 12.5 meters in depth and also with a boundary fence, is used to test their swimming and floating abilities.

We asked Sumi and her mother Josna what they thought about the swimming programme:

Sumi said, “I love to learn to swim. Even though I am afraid of the water, it is not very deep and I can even stand up in it. It is great having swimming teachers to help us and the best bit is I can also splash around with my friends – we all have fun together.”

Sumi’s Mother Josna explained that ‘Meghna’ (one of the mighty rivers of Bangladesh) is next to her house and almost every year there are floods. She said, “I never got the chance to teach my children how to swim. I was preoccupied with my family issues. However, here in The Sreepur Village my children have been given the opportunity to learn how to swim. This is such a worthy cause as three years ago, a daughter of one of my relatives fell into the water, she was lucky to survive but one day I will go back to my rural community to live and because of The Sreepur Village and CIPRB my children would have learned the essential skills to swim and not drown.”

Swimming at Sreepur (7)From CIPRB and working with us are two female swimming instructors, Jhumur and Monika, both dedicating their time to teach the children how to swim. Monika explained that through a 21 step- process, the children are instructed to be positive in the water, to develop swimming and floating abilities. She said, “We also teach the children how to rescue somebody who is drowning and to identify life-threatening water dangers. All of the children are performing well. They are learning to swim fast. We are very proud of them and it is our pleasure to teach them life-saving techniques.”

Learning is fun!

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Learning is fun!

All of the mothers of The Sreepur Village are required to participate in our education programme. When mothers are admitted here we assess their previous educational qualifications and we arrange proper schooling for them. Mothers start up from literacy class and study up to secondary school certificate. Indeed, even some of our mothers continue to higher studies. A large portion of our mothers are admitted to the Bangladesh Open University; here they do not have to study hard like the general curriculum institutes and they have enough time for life skills lessons.

 

Rubina is a little different to our mothers and she attends regular school with our older girls. Rubina, a single mother, came to us four months ago with her seven-month-old child. She is now in grade eight and loves going to school with other girls. Yesterday, when she was returning from the school, we caught her on camera wearing her school uniforms! Let’s make a noble wish for her better future!

 

Help us to educate mothers like Rubina to enable them to provide a better life for themselves and their children

Leaders of Sreepur… 

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Leaders of Sreepur… 

You will remember our last update about the Leader Mothers at Sreepur, and we are excited to share with you our newest Leaders! Every six months we ‘recruit’ new Leader Mothers for the village – the candidates go through a rigorous and competitive evaluation to win a place as a Leader.

At Sreepur Village we are incredibly fortunate to have many strong and encouraging women who want to give their time to support and lead the other mothers, both those that are new to the Village and those who have been with us for longer.

The role of our Leaders is to provide this support network for all of our mothers, and to encourage others who want to be the next Leaders to put themselves forward.

We distinguish our Leaders by their green Saris or green Salwar Kamiz. It is also a symbol of their empowerment and makes them easy for mothers seeking guidance or support to find.

Each Leader is assigned to a different area of Sreepur, where they provide support to the clinic, big dining, school, special children, halfway house, mothers, children and most importantly our training programs. Our Leaders play a vital role in our Village.

This Tuesday we had a chance to sit down with our new leaders and asked them to talk to us about their role and time at Sreepur…

Shirina Leader of the Tailoring SectionShirina is the Leader of the tailoring section:
“I am here from a remote area. I suffered a lot in the early part of my widowhood period. Early on, I could not communicate with people. I didn’t know how to talk to others and it was very difficult for me to meet people. Since coming to Sreepur Village though I have become socialised and am now even the the leader of many other women. Nobody will believe it but until I came to Sreepur I had never I learn how to eat in front of others! The post of Leader has given me dignity and is a real honour.
Before coming to Sreepur I had only ever reached up to grade eight at school, but I am now preparing for my Secondary School Certificate. When I leave Sreepur I want to open up my own business, and Sreepur has given me the skills and confidence to be able to do it.”

Hasila Leader of Middle Boys HouseHasila is the Leader of Middle Boys House:
“I think, here every mother has individual freedom. Like me, all of them can consider their future, plan independently, and receive the support that they need to make their plans a reality. My future plan pushes me to be a Leader! I love this role! When the mothers, children and staff call me Leader-Didi (mother), I feel deeply honoured. I want to begin work in an official job, one that will help me reach my goals and I know that I will be able to achieve them with what I have learned since coming to Sreepur.”

 

Munia Leader of ClinicMunia is the Leader of our Clinic:
“When first I came here, I saw all of the didi (mothers) wearing their green clothes; they set them apart from the other mothers in their green Saris and Salwar Kamiz. It’s attracted me a lot! I asked one of them, why they are different from us. Didi replied we are specially empowered to help others!
Since then I have had a small dream to be a Leader and to wear the green dress. I love wearing my green clothes, they help me to be determined.
I have suffered a lot in my life and being in a position where I am respected and able to help others who are only beginning their journey has helped me feel that one day I will be able to stand on my own feet.”

Every one of our mothers is empowered by this role in their own way, but all of them use their role to support and encourage others in the Village. They are proof of the considerable perseverance that all of our mothers have inside of them.

 

If you want to help empower more women like Shirina, Hasila and Munia you can make a donation, buy one of the products handmade by our mothers or buy a gift that gives