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The Scarlet & Black

Tareque awarded Davis to work on Bangladesh education

Danielle Williams

The Davis Projects for Peace program encourages students to devise innovative ways to work for peace. These projects are funded by philanthropist Kathryn Davis, who committed $1 million to fund grass-roots projects. This summer, Inara Tareque ’16 was chosen to implement her vision to improve education in her home country, Bangladesh.

The program, called “Stars for Knowledge, Knowledge for Change,” is designed to improve literacy rates at Chardowani Middle School. By purchasing computers, constructing a library consisting of books in English and Bengali and providing Internet access to the students, she hopes to diminish the dropout rate of the students and broaden their scope of thinking. There will also be workshops for parents and students that will aim to reduce dropout rates.

“[In] the village I’m working with, there are many kids who drop out of high school because their parents think that it’s better if they leave high school and start working,” Tareque said. “The main purpose of this project is [to introduce] a library; these children study subjects like science, physics and chemistry … they want to earn money as fast as possible. In the library, I’ll

have books about life and how education would be beneficial for them and other subject areas such as anthropology and psychology––things that they might not be aware of but can get to know through the books in the library.”

Photograph by Saw Min Maw.


Another goal of hers is to provide the children with incentives for reading, by implementing a Future Stars Program in which each student in the school will be rewarded one star for each book report they write. Their peers will evaluate these reports, which she hopes will foster a peer community in which students motivate and are motivated by each other to read. The ten students with the most stars in each grade will be rewarded with certificates and medals, which is an important inspiration tool, since the students are hardly recognized in school.

“The whole project is being funded with $10,000, but according to the budget I’ll only need $8,000,” Tareque said. “[For the remaining] $2,000, I’ve arranged for it to be kept in a bank account and the interest generated from it would be enough to keep the whole program maintained.”

Tareque is excited about implementing this project, as are the students and locals.

“They’re really looking forward to it,” she said. “First, I was a little worried because I’d never been to that village, but then my aunt sent me a letter from the principal who was super happy about it. The principal told the children about the program and they were really excited for this summer.”

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