Panikhali Rural Development Society
In 2016 we came in to contact with Panikhali Rural Development Society (PRDS) who had been running a project in the village of Panikhali and surrounding villages since 2006. We were immediately drawn to the project due it’s nature in providing education to children from some of the most marginalised families in the community. In early 2017 we funded much-needed repair work to the school building roof and installation of fans and lights to benefit the children who attended the school. After the repair work was complete we agreed to fund the PRDS project in 2017 which would include pre-school, follow up coaching and numerous outreach programmes in the local community. In 2018 we were delighted to once again agree to support PRDS in their work and extend our programme with them where we are now working with them in three communities.
In the summer of 2017, we began to support follow up coaching for Class V-VIII students in a neighbouring village called Boria after the local mothers had requested coaching for the older children in the community. We were delighted to be able to extend our work to this community with PRDS.
In January 2018 through our work with PRDS we got to know of a community located 12km from Panikhali Village that was requesting an education centre be supported for the children and young people in the area. After meeting with community members and working closely with PRDS management we officially opened our third centre with PRDS to be called Alor Disha which translates from Bengali as “Moving in the Direction of Light”. The centre has been a great success with large numbers of children and young people being supported in their education with the programme we have implemented here with PRDS.
We have also extended our student sponsorship programme to students in each of the centres in the latter stages of their secondary education. PRDS works closely with mothers in the local community and surrounding villages by forming groups that meet regularly to discuss issues faced and plan awareness programmes to address these issues. We now work with PRDS in three villages to support the pre-school and follow up coaching of students in each community. The number of students currently enrolled in all three PRDS centres is now 855.
After partnering with PRDS from the beginning of 2017 our programme steadily grew as we began to work in new communities and start new programmes in each centre. From just over 150 students in one community in 2017, the programme had grown to almost 800 students in three communities by 2019. We realised that in order to cater to the ever-growing numbers in our centres we would need to expand or completely reconstruct our centres to allow for greater numbers of students. We put plans in place through early 2019 to achieve this goal over the coming years and we were lucky to get the support of a generous donor who has provided us with incredible support in our school building programme. We have already completely redeveloped our Panikhali Centre with an entirely new building and expanded our Alor Disha Centre by adding an additional upper floor and new classrooms to the building. The construction of a new school building in Boria is now underway as well as a skills training and medical centre in Panikhali.