* a trip to remember

Following is a post by Sandra D’ Rozario – a Friend of Adhunika DC since 2007

Adhunika Bangladesh Society (ABS) was the place where I always wanted to visit whenever I was in Bangladesh.

However, things go completely out of control when you land on your homeland and see those familiar faces that are waiting for you. Although, my visit to Bangladesh is short, this time I had the chance to stay in Bangladesh for a longer time. So, I also had the privilege to visit and to observe ABS very closely. I visited the ABS office occasionally.  However, there was one significant visit to Adhunika that I would consider a milestone experience for me. I had the opportunity to spend an entire day with the students of Adhunika’s Computer class- to explore their world through their eyes.  The reason I consider this experience a milestone is because I was never really familiar with the student life-styles in Bangladesh. Being raised and spent both my high-school and undergraduate student life in Canada, I never knew what it was like to be a student in Bangladesh. This one-day experience had given me a taste of it. It had provided me with an opportunity to be like them at least for one day!

Sandra with Swapna & Shahinur of Adhunika Bangladesh Society

My day started with Shahnur Apa, a staff member from ABS and Swapna, a student & intern of Adhunika. Swapna who is a student at the Eden College took us to college girls’ dormitory – ‘hostel’ located inside the college. She used to live three hours away from the heart of the Dhaka city. To pursue her college degree, she moved to live in the city. The purpose of this tour was to experience the student life-styles of Bangladesh. From outside, someone could hardly imagine that there was another world waiting to be explored behind these metallic doors. I would never have thought of having a chance to go and see… – a pond with various fruit trees around and a tall white building which Swapna calls her “basha”. She took us to her room which she shares with 8-9 other female students. They were all very friendly and welcoming. After having a brief conversation, I soon came to know that even if these girls were college students, at the college facility there were hardly any computers for students to use. Comparing this with dormitories in North America was not my intention. Nevertheless, when I actually entered Swapna’s room, I could not help myself.

A typical hostel room that I visited.

Then, I realized how fortunate we were being able to study in North America with full access to university resources. Our day at a student dormitory in North America starts with computers, library books and ends with songs that are just downloaded from the internet.

Interestingly, I found few students there who participated in Adhunika’s English classes as well and with amazement I watched them continuing the conversation in English. It really had given me an immense pleasure to see these young girls being able to achieve their goals and get the benefits from this program.

Following the conversation we took a walk to roam around the hostel. Swapna showed us the building facilities such as the Newspaper stands for students, the Namaaz Room, the Library and finally the Cafeteria (“canteen”). Before we could settle down, I saw a fiesta of food on our table- Shahnur Apa and Swapna along with others had already ordered

Having lunch with the students of Adhunika at their hostel.

dishes like bhorta, bhaji, daal (my favorites!!! how would they know??), fish curry, chicken curry, laal shaak and the list went on… the other former and recent students of Adhunika who lived in the same hostel joined us for lunch. Something had struck me at that time. I stopped for a moment thinking that these people hardly knew me and yet the way they welcomed me and allowed me into their world was unbelievable. I was overwhelmed by their hospitality. The caring and affection that I had received from these Bangladeshis are undoubtedly heartwarming.

To these women, Adhunika is a name of hope- a medium to fulfill their dream of overcoming the situations. Many students who had completed their basic computer course from Adhunika do not get an opportunity to practice the skill afterward. So, they seek to enroll into other programs of Adhunika. They hope that Adhunika will offer them something which may be helpful in obviating the problems they face afterward.

Some of the female students are interested in improving their skills by applying that skill in real work place environment.

To them, Adhunika is the only known option to learn and practice computer skills. They also mentioned that the reason there has been a growing number of students enrolling into computer classes offered at Adhunika is simply because it is a safe-environment for women, convenient and affordable.

Students viewing TV during break time, Eden College. Photo: Sandra

I thank all the members of the Adhunika Bangladesh Society, Shahnur Apa (ABS Staff) and specially Shahnaz Yousuf, the Founder of Adhunika Foundation. Also, a heartiest thanks to Swapna – who allowed me to see her world through her eyes. With these people’s help and support, I would never have learnt the harsh reality.

I still remember my last day with Swapna at the ABS office, she said “good bye” with a smile.  One could hardly tell that behind such smile lies hardship and struggle which many women like Swapna go through on their every day lives. I have tried my best to put this experience into words; nevertheless I think words are not enough to interpret what I had experienced.


About this blog

Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more



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