A Tale of Two Sisters

Four sisters- Afsana, Afrin, Afroza and Anika. Like the fate of many in urban slums, their father has abandoned them and their mother is unable to support a family their size. The four sisters live with their grandmother in an 8 ft by 8 ft hut in the middle of what we call the Rayerbazar slum.

Our story today is about Afsana and Afrin; a true story about resilience in the face of adversity. “I would like to be a photographer in the future. Please pray for me,” says Afrin, the second of the four and a tenth grader. “After becoming a journalist, I want to unveil the tragic tales of our impoverished people,” she adds.

Afsana, Afrin and Family

The four sisters in their 8’x8′ home. From left: Afsana, Anika, Afroza, Afrin

Despite little to no financial support from their parents, today Afrin is determined to materialize her dreams because she has Spreeha beside her. Afrin is a regular at Spreeha’s after-school tutoring center and at the same time, earns a living by teaching little kids at the Spreeha preschool.

Spreeha’s after-school center hosts a diverse and high-poverty student population from its surrounding slums. Despite these factors, students attending the center have far exceeded everyone’s academic expectations, including their own. To its credit, Spreeha has an outstanding faculty that holds its students to very high academic standards.

While these urban slums see extremely high school dropout rates due to lack of basic resources, Spreeha’s after-school initiative was born keeping in mind the needs of the school-going children in the slums. Alongside attending private tutoring sessions at the after-school center, Afrin is also an active member of the Spreeha adolescent club and its computer learning center.

While this story was being put together, Afrin’s eldest sister, Afsana was awaiting admission examination results as a bachelor’s degree student under National University, Bangladesh. This is the same young girl who, even a couple of years ago, had given up all hopes of academic pursuit. She did not know a way out from the dreary future which deprived her of further education and self-sustainability.

A few months ago, our blog shared a story on Afsana’s plight and her remarkable fight with Spreeha on her side. Today, we would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Afsana on her selection by the National University, where she not only aced the admission examination but also got selected to study her field of choice!

Afrin and Afsana, your resilience inspires us everyday to work even harder so that no child could fall through the cracks of the system and that every one of you would be able to reach for the stars.