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. After the repair work was complete, we agreed to fund the PRDS project in Panikhali Village 2017 which would include pre-school, follow up coaching and numerous outreach programmes in the local community.
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 their children. 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 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.
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 rural villages to support the pre-school and follow up coaching of students in each community. The number of students enrolled in all three PRDS centres is now 1211.
Having partnered with PRDS from 2017 the number of centres, students, staff and programmes steadily grew. From one centre with 150 students in 2017 to almost 800 students in three communities in 2019. We realised that to cater for the growing numbers we would need to expand or redevelop our centres to cater for the growing numbers. Together with PRDS we put plans in place to achieve this goal over the coming years. Thanks to the support of an incredibly generous donor, we were able to achieve this goal over the coming years beginning in 2019. We redeveloped or built from scratch new school buildings in Panikhali, Boria and Alor Disha between 2019 and 2022. Our final project was the construction of a skills training, empowerment and medical centre in Panikhali Village.