Esrat Karim could have had a high-paying job in a multinational company after completing her degree in Finance but one day changed everything.
“On my way to university one day, I saw a little girl about 3-4 years old selling candy on the road. A man kicked her very brutally because she was asking him to buy some sweets. I was shocked and discovered that those children are treated everywhere as street dogs.”
With the support of her friends Esrat started a small initiative at her university campus focusing on visiting slums where the poorest children lived with the goal of convincing them to agree to allow Esrat and her team teach them basic education. They failed again and again trying to persuade the children and their parents to allow this, even though these children worked in dangerous and illegal environments just to afford food to survive. They had no education, so most of them were destined for a future of sex trafficking. Ultimately, Esrat was able to convince six slum children to join her group and these children were taught essential skills for life: basic reading, writing, and math as well as necessary social and vocational skills to earn a living. In just four years, AMAL (Authentic Method of Alternative Learning) has helped more than 250 children (most of which are girls), even extending the program to providing them one meal a day.
Currently, AMAL is working in five remote regions of Dhaka City, Bangladesh (with an average of 30 children under every program) to provide free education, health benefits, food and vocational training to empower the children.
“Every underprivileged child is an elephant leashed to a week chain.We use education as a tool for empowering our elephants to unleash their powers by creating new opportunities and the potential for radical change.” – Esrat Karim, Founder.
Currently, AMAL has more than 100 active volunteers and 30 international ambassadors of 30 different nations. Their goal is to empower 150 children in 2015 and 500 children by the end of 2016.
Why Bhakti Chai loves this project
Esrat is an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things. We are moved by her motivation, compassion and tenacity to take children who would otherwise be doomed for a life of misery — to a safe place where they can learn, be given a proper meal and feel safe. Bhakti Chai honors Esrat and her team for their on going mission to affect radical change.