Visit to Shurer Dhara School at Lalmatia, Dhaka

Written by:  Mansura Amdad & Najiba Azad, Dhaka
Edited by:  Azmeena Sayeed, New York

On 25 February, 2017, a school monitoring team from Agami Education Foundation (AEF) visited the Music for Development (MfD) project established under Shurer Dhara (SD) at Lalmatia, Dhaka. The team included Mansura Amdad (Associate Executive Director, AEF), Najiba Azad (Volunteer) and Maksuda Mahtab (Guest visitor).

Shurer Dhara (SD) is a registered non-government organization that employs Music for Development (MfD), a social project, with the goal of integrating deprived children into mainstream society. Children from economically and socially deprived families from the poorest parts of Mohammadpur, Dhaka, admitted into MfD are taught music, art, languages, social awareness, computer sciences and various other subjects as a part of a newly-designed curriculum, focused on cognitive development. Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya is the Chairman and Principal of this institution. Some of the students attending this school are also attending different regular schools. After attending their regular schools, they attend MfD to learn singing, dancing and drawing. They also receive some lessons focused on academics.

SD is located in a space rented from Lalmatia Housing Society School & College building. The school operates with a single shift and employs a total of ten teachers- an academic coordinator, three music, one art, one dance and one recitation teacher(s). In 2016, the school admitted 40 students in different classes. Two spacious classrooms are allocated for all the students. The school also has a playground and is fully operational three days a week. The school has a supply of safe drinking water, authorized access to the national grid power supply, sufficient lights and fans in the class-rooms, broadband internet connection and three well maintained toilets for teachers and students, located inside the building. There is also a projector and a screen for classroom use. The students are also required to follow a dress codes and a provided with a free-meal program. The school arranges quarterly parents-teachers meetings. The school, however, does not have a library, a computer lab and a science lab. There is also no provision of annual sports and daily assembly for the students. However, there are arrangements for study tours or annual picnics.

There are two groups/sections in MfD- “Class-09” (Batch 2) and “Class-15” (Batch 1). Currently, class-09 has 10 students and Class-15 has 26 students (6 students have dropped out from batch 2 last year). The attendance rate of students is about 80%. Agami had started funding the school from 2016. The school receives Agami funding for teachers’ salaries, stationary, facility rent and other purposes. However, the school still requires further support in financing teacher's’ salary, documentation equipment, meals for students, transportation facilities and setting up a computer lab.

According to Agami's visiting team, MfD still requires further support in establishing a proper academic atmosphere, required for the overall development of the students.