Sometimes a name says it all.
“Teestakoli” is the name chosen by a Bangladeshi community for a brand new girls’ dormitory.
“Teesta” is the name of the local river girls previously had to cross to attend school, and “Koli” translates as the budding stage of a flower. By combining the two it signifies how the advent of the dormitory now enables girls to overcome obstacles - like the river - and reach their full potential at school.
The school dormitory was constructed to give girls in the most isolated areas of the community a safe and stable alternative for continuing their education.
“During the last flood we realized the miseries of the distressed girl students,” Mr. Hossain, a local Member of Parliament, said during the initial construction ceremony. “Now we have a moral duty to closely monitor the quality of construction work and finish this project.”
And dedicated community members did just that.
After months of collaboration, participation, and anticipation, the eagerly-awaited project finally came to fruition.
“Our children are vulnerable in terms of development and inclusion, and this dormitory is a major step to support us to lessen this gap,” said one grateful parent, whose daughter will now live in the dorm. “Our children will develop and flourish like other children. They will not be hampered by the social hurdles imposed on them. Thank you for this thoughtful initiative.”
On the day that the Teestakoli Girls’ Dormitory opened its doors, government officials, law enforcement representatives, local leaders, journalists, parents, community members, head teachers, and the girls themselves came out to celebrate.
The bright, colorful, and clean new facility is fully furnished with all the necessary amenities, including a kitchen and running water. For some girls, it is the first time they’ve ever had access to such resources. The dorm can comfortably accommodate 52 girls, most of whom have already moved in, with the others to follow shortly.
Additionally, the dorm’s girls underwent special child protection training to establish new safety regulations, and the dormitory will have on-site supervision and support from properly-trained individuals like Motahara, 29, the new Hostel Super.
“I am honored to have the responsibility to take care of girls as their guardian,” Motahara said. “Earlier there was no opportunity for their education … The girls’ dormitory will have a major impact.”
Like other successful initiatives in the region, Motahara foresees that the dorms will further motivate parents to continue their daughters’ education, helping to increase enrolment and attendance rates, and decreasing incidences of child marriage.
“Every year we face problems to come to school,” shared Sheba, a local student and new dorm resident. “Now this dormitory will afford us with so much opportunity and bring hope to overcome these problems.”
After seeing this project come full circle, Mr. Hossain feels confident in both the girls and the entire community’s ability to overcome and excel.
“The community has been tested with several challenges, and we have met each of those challenges successfully,” he declared – this time at the dorm’s opening ceremony. “I am optimistic that we will successfully run this dormitory for many more years ahead.”
Indeed, it isn’t only the current residents who will benefit from these dorms. Future generations will have the opportunity to also attend someday.
“We are happy that the inauguration of the girls’ dormitory was completed successfully,” 7-year-old (and perhaps someday dorm resident) Parvin said. “Now girls can stay and continue their education. Many appreciate this initiative.”
The new dorm gives local girls so much more than a place to lay their heads. It provides a place to build their futures, from the ground up – letting true promise blossom and bloom.