Transformation Stories

However difficult our situation or profound our anguish, we always retain the capacity to light the flame of encouragement. This light dispels not only the darkness of others’ suffering, but also that which envelops our own heart. Daisaku Ikeda

At Swapnopuron, one of the key drivers has been to extend an opportunity to the marginalised children of the remote villages of Sunderbans, to get quality education. The journey towards this has been ridden with numerous challenges – abject poverty, limited livelihood opportunities, inaccessibility and unaffordability of proper health care, inherent patriarchal division of labour, vagaries of nature – to name few.

Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us. Daisaku Ikeda

And amidst all the adversity that severely tested our perseverance, did we find the courage to forge on. We have been touched by the lives of the children and have been privileged to have made a difference.

AKASH SARDAR

“Bhaat toh geleo peye jabo kintu porashuno korar sujog sikkha sob somoy payoa jai na eikhane” (tr: Even if there’s no food right now, we will surely get it later, but we don’t get the opportunity to gain knowledge here every day). This one statement voices the emotions of many living in the remote areas of Sunderbans. Coming from a time when there was no hope in education, Swapnopuron has built a community that looks forward to a better future. Akash, a bright young boy, was abandoned by his parents at an early age. He was raised by his relatives who wanted to ensure a secure and happy life for him. His family is always in the struggle to make ends meet, but they wanted to make sure that Akash gets the education he deserves. From not being able to read or write at all, to being one of the brightest students at school, Swopnopuron came as a life-changing turn in the pathway of Akash’s life. When he is not in the classroom, you will find him at the school library, reading and dreaming of his future. Akash has ambitions to join government services and help his family break away from the shackles of poverty. With the efforts and guidance of the teachers at Swapnopuron, he has been receiving quality English-medium education that helps him not only in dreaming big but also in developing the skillset to achieve those dreams. Akash’s aunt, who married at an early age and was deprived of opportunities, is immensely grateful for the way Swapnopuron has impacted Akash and the children of the community.

SUMANA KHATUN

The story of Sumana starts not with her but with the resilience at the face of hardships faced by her grandmother. “Ami nije toh konodino porashuno korte parlam na, amar khub eccha j ami amar natni der bhalo kore porabo jai e hok r chai j ora chakri koruk” (tr: I had never got the opportunity to study, but will help my granddaughters to study at all costs and help them secure a job), told Sumana’s grandmother. Her words reflect the dream of many guardians of the students at Swapnopuron Shishu Shiksha Niketan (SSSN). Hailing from an impoverished family, Sumana’s grandmother was never able to receive formal education. Being the eldest of the children, she spent her day helping her father make bidis while her other siblings went to school. She was married off at an early age, and household responsibilities became a part of her life. When her husband married another woman, she thought of taking a stance for herself and left with her 4-month-old child. Presently, her granddaughter (Sumana) is aged 10 and studies in Class 5. Before joining SSSN, Sumana used to play with mud all day, and like every other girl in her village, it seemed that she too would have been forced on the same path of misery. The local school was merely a place for all the kids of Hingalgunj to get their assured mid-day meals. Because of a lack of educational facilities, she lacked even a basic understanding of numbers and letters. The transformation started after joining Swapnopuron. Sumana has been performing very well in her academics and has learnt nursery rhymes too! Her grandmother cherishes the fact that she has the ability to speak and study the English language, and is receiving quality CBSE-curriculum-based education. Sumana has a completely changed personality and is independently aspiring to achieve greater things in her life and career. With a content heart, Sumana’s grandmother acknowledges that all this would not have been possible if she had not joined Swapnopuron. Sumana’s grandmother, like many of the women in Hingalgunj, could never see a future beyond the traps of poverty. The young child’s growth and aspiration to build a better life for herself makes her grandmother smile. Expressing her gratitude for the school, she says, “Amra sopneo bhabini j eto bhalo school amader ei gram e hobe. (Tr: We had never imagined that our village would have such a good school).” By enabling a pathway for resilient people like Sumana and her grandmother, Swapnopuron dedicates all its efforts in helping dreams manifest into a reality.

ANU

The story of Sumana starts not with her but with the resilience at the face of hardships faced by her grandmother. “Ami nije toh konodino porashuno korte parlam na, amar khub eccha j ami amar natni der bhalo kore porabo jai e hok r chai j ora chakri koruk” (tr: I had never got the opportunity to study, but will help my granddaughters to study at all costs and help them secure a job), told Sumana’s grandmother. Her words reflect the dream of many guardians of the students at Swapnopuron Shishu Shiksha Niketan (SSSN). Hailing from an impoverished family, Sumana’s grandmother was never able to receive formal education. Being the eldest of the children, she spent her day helping her father make bidis while her other siblings went to school. She was married off at an early age, and household responsibilities became a part of her life. When her husband married another woman, she thought of taking a stance for herself and left with her 4-month-old child. Presently, her granddaughter (Sumana) is aged 10 and studies in Class 5. Before joining SSSN, Sumana used to play with mud all day, and like every other girl in her village, it seemed that she too would have been forced on the same path of misery. The local school was merely a place for all the kids of Hingalgunj to get their assured mid-day meals. Because of a lack of educational facilities, she lacked even a basic understanding of numbers and letters. The transformation started after joining Swapnopuron. Sumana has been performing very well in her academics and has learnt nursery rhymes too! Her grandmother cherishes the fact that she has the ability to speak and study the English language, and is receiving quality CBSE-curriculum-based education. Sumana has a completely changed personality and is independently aspiring to achieve greater things in her life and career. With a content heart, Sumana’s grandmother acknowledges that all this would not have been possible if she had not joined Swapnopuron. Sumana’s grandmother, like many of the women in Hingalgunj, could never see a future beyond the traps of poverty. The young child’s growth and aspiration to build a better life for herself makes her grandmother smile. Expressing her gratitude for the school, she says, “Amra sopneo bhabini j eto bhalo school amader ei gram e hobe. (Tr: We had never imagined that our village would have such a good school).” By enabling a pathway for resilient people like Sumana and her grandmother, Swapnopuron dedicates all its efforts in helping dreams manifest into a reality.

SUMAIYA

The story of Sumana starts not with her but with the resilience at the face of hardships faced by her grandmother. “Ami nije toh konodino porashuno korte parlam na, amar khub eccha j ami amar natni der bhalo kore porabo jai e hok r chai j ora chakri koruk” (tr: I had never got the opportunity to study, but will help my granddaughters to study at all costs and help them secure a job), told Sumana’s grandmother. Her words reflect the dream of many guardians of the students at Swapnopuron Shishu Shiksha Niketan (SSSN). Hailing from an impoverished family, Sumana’s grandmother was never able to receive formal education. Being the eldest of the children, she spent her day helping her father make bidis while her other siblings went to school. She was married off at an early age, and household responsibilities became a part of her life. When her husband married another woman, she thought of taking a stance for herself and left with her 4-month-old child. Presently, her granddaughter (Sumana) is aged 10 and studies in Class 5. Before joining SSSN, Sumana used to play with mud all day, and like every other girl in her village, it seemed that she too would have been forced on the same path of misery. The local school was merely a place for all the kids of Hingalgunj to get their assured mid-day meals. Because of a lack of educational facilities, she lacked even a basic understanding of numbers and letters. The transformation started after joining Swapnopuron. Sumana has been performing very well in her academics and has learnt nursery rhymes too! Her grandmother cherishes the fact that she has the ability to speak and study the English language, and is receiving quality CBSE-curriculum-based education. Sumana has a completely changed personality and is independently aspiring to achieve greater things in her life and career. With a content heart, Sumana’s grandmother acknowledges that all this would not have been possible if she had not joined Swapnopuron. Sumana’s grandmother, like many of the women in Hingalgunj, could never see a future beyond the traps of poverty. The young child’s growth and aspiration to build a better life for herself makes her grandmother smile. Expressing her gratitude for the school, she says, “Amra sopneo bhabini j eto bhalo school amader ei gram e hobe. (Tr: We had never imagined that our village would have such a good school).” By enabling a pathway for resilient people like Sumana and her grandmother, Swapnopuron dedicates all its efforts in helping dreams manifest into a reality.