Shrity: The Dreamer, The Teacher
Did you know? Investing in girls could make a massive difference in ending global hunger. Many girls in low-income countries face unique barriers to education and nutrition, and parents often keep them at home to care for relatives. Sometimes, they’re married off young. And they’re often the last to eat when there’s not much food at home.
But there’s hope: every year a girl stays in primary school boosts her future wages by up to 20 percent. And school meals programs like ours have been shown to significantly improve school enrollment and attendance rates among girls just like this one.
This young Bangladeshi girl lost her father at a young age, and her mother is paralyzed from a stroke. Her oldest sister was married off, her second sister works in a garment factory as the family breadwinner and the third stays at home to take care of their mom. The family rarely has even two meals a day, let alone the proper nutrition from a diverse diet.
Shrity’s mother Nasima was determined to educate at least one of her children, and her youngest daughter found out from a friend about Sher-e-Bangla’s school feeding program.
Put together the need for both education and nutrition, and Shrity is now lucky enough to go to school. She loves it.
She loves sitting in the classroom. She loves learning. She loves eating biscuits. She loves seeing her friends. She loves helping her teacher with the younger students. In fact, Shrity wants to become a teacher when she grows up. At the same school, so she can teach kids who are just like her.
You see, Shrity is an absolute joy. And to be honest, that’s how I feel when I’m talking to any child, anywhere in the world. When you get them talking, you realize that all kids are just kids. They play, they learn, they dream.
Shrity has been through so much in her 12 years that I doubt I will undergo my entire life. She has very little. But what she has makes her radiate. You can see it in her eyes, her smile.
The world is filled with hundreds of millions of Shritys, millions of souls who continue to breathe, work, strive, hunger and dream.
I can’t forget her adorable little tuft of hair pulled up into a ponytail, the confidence in her voice as she told me what “WFP” is (“It’s the name of the biscuit!”), the way she offered me her own chair so she could sit on an overturned bucket, her hand clasping mine in a firm shake as I bid her farewell.
When I meet Shrity again one day, I know she will continue to teach me and so many other people what it means to have hope.