Professor Funds Education and Literacy for Home Village in Bangladesh
(March 8, 2012 – Thunder Bay, ON)
The small village of Gohailbari in the Rajbari District of Bangladesh has a new school, thanks to Dr. Mohammad Nasir Uddin, a professor of electrical engineering at Lakehead University.
In 2010, Dr. Uddin established the Dr. Nasir-Shahida Foundation, named for himself and his wife. This charitable foundation recently established the Arshed-Sajeda Primary School, in honour of Dr. Uddin’s parents. His father, who was a primary school teacher, has donated all the land for the project.
The village where Dr. Uddin spent his childhood is a quiet agricultural community in central Bangladesh near the shores of the Chandana River. The vast majority of residents are farmers, living below the poverty line. Most cannot afford schooling.
Arshed-Sajeda Primary School officially opened earlier this year, and now provides
free access to education for children in Grades 1 to 5. In addition,
scholarships will be provided for students in financial need and for
high-achieving students so that they can have continued access to education.
“I have already made arrangements for the electricity connection for the school and I donated a computer, which will be used to teach Grades 3 to 5,” Dr. Uddin explains. “I think this will probably be the first primary school in Bangladesh to teach computers in the primary section.”
In addition to day-time programming, adult education has been offered in the evenings since November. Dr. Uddin hopes to increase the village’s literacy rate from 30 to 100 percent. He has also established a library, where villagers can borrow books for free.
Lakehead University President Dr. Brian Stevenson says Dr. Uddin and his family
are an inspiration.
“Lakehead is a global community and it is vital that we expand our vision to countries that need our help – especially in education,” Stevenson says. “I am so proud of the work that Dr. Uddin is doing and I commend him for his generous spirit.”
Dr. Uddin says news of his school has inspired other Bangladeshi people living abroad to give back to their home communities.
In the future, the Dr. Nasir-Shahida Foundation hopes to set up a basic hospital, especially for women, children, and diabetic patients.
But for now, his family’s initial investment of around $40,000 will make an enormous difference to the lives of all people living in the village and the surrounding area.
“They are really excited to see the first school in their neighbourhood,” Dr. Uddin says. “I hope one day that students from this school will come to Lakehead or to other universities.
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Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.
Last updated March 08, 2012