Smiling All The Way To School

The high-school scholarships are arriving in Bangladesh, and girls are grinning from ear to ear.

A small team of our staff recently visited a handful of Bangladeshi villages, and got to see first-hand how your gifts are not only making a difference, but bringing smiles to young faces.

We met some remarkable girls who, after bravely sharing their fears of becoming child brides, couldn’t stop thanking you for giving them a one-year scholarship to stay in school.

For many girls living here (some as young as 10), child marriage is a terrible reality, and one that won’t seem to go away. It’s a generational problem that’s fueled by warped cultural beliefs and choking poverty; the effects of which see desperate parents marry their daughters off to alleviate the financial burden of care. So when 16-year-old Happy learned that her father had plans to marry her off, she threw herself at his feet and begged him to change his mind. It’s heartbreaking to know that girls like Happy are losing their childhoods and being placed in danger, largely because their parents see no way out.

For Happy, a scholarship means she can stay in school and avoid child marriage.
For Happy, a $50 high-school scholarship means she can stay in school and avoid child marriage.

The solution is education, and girls like Happy rely on the generosity of people like you to help make it happen. The more time we spent with Happy, the more we realized what a scholarship gift really meant. She (like every other girl we met) cried tears of joy and relief knowing that she could now attend school and avoid child marriage.

“Without this scholarship, I would already be married,” shares 15-year-old Dipa, who wants to become a doctor when she’s older. Dipa has such a heart for learning that it’s hard to imagine her not in a classroom, let alone bound to a complete stranger. But like Happy, getting married was a fear that Dipa lived with daily until her sister did something unthinkable.

When Dipa was just 13, her sister volunteered herself to live as a stranger’s wife to save Dipa and give her the chance to stay in school. “I was sad and I felt lonely when my sister got married and left,” explains Dipa. “She didn’t want to get married, but she knew if she did it would take the pressure off me,”

But as Dipa grew older, the risk of her being married off returned, as did her fears. So when your one-year scholarship arrived, Dipa couldn’t stop smiling!

Dipa's mother was a child bride, and her sister, but this scholarship has broken the chains and given her hope.
Dipa’s mother was a child bride, and her sister, but this scholarship has broken the chains and given her (and others like her) a reason to smile.

She feels safe for the first time in years and now has the confidence to finish school and chase her dreams—maybe even one day marry the man that God has intended.

In the rural villages of Bangladesh, girls like Dipa and Happy are smiling once again thanks to you.

Published by

Jonathan Steck

Jonathan Steck

As our Senior Editor, Jonathan is passionate about telling the stories that bring World Concern's work to life. Originally from Australia but now living in Seattle, Jonathan has met and interviewed people from all corners of the world, realizing that despite our many differences, we're all very much alike.

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