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Skills Training for Advancing Resource (STAR): a new approach for our future stars

Skills Training for Advancing Resource (STAR): a new approach for our future stars

Recently, we went to savar at the outskirts of Dhaka.  At a corner room in a school building we found these boys learning the “secret” tricks and tips of fixing a mobile phone.  They are all primary school graduates but urban poverty is forcing them to look for extra income opportunities.  Meet the students. — the shagreds.

Meet the teacher — the ustad. He owns six mobile stores himself.  It didnt come easy.  He went to madras to learn this skill.  14 out of 16 from his graduating class stayed abroad.  He returned.  He was teaching these trades informally to others before.  Now this new programme, gives him a formal place, setting to do this along with some resident apprentices.  “I take great satisfaction in teaching them this skill”, he said.

Meet the assistant teachers.  They teach the students communicative English.   “Why are you doing this”, I asked.  “These students are from similar background as us.  We have come out of this poverty trap and I feel it is our obligation to help them as well.  We have now become friends.”

These teachers are recipients of BRAC’s medhabikash scholarship.  They also get 700 taka per class for teaching.  Any extra money means that much amount less needing to come from their family who is in the Agriculture field in Natore.  In fact, everyone involved in this programme gets paid even if its a bare minimum.  This is a marked difference from previous BRAC programmes in the rural area which focused on volunteering.  Changing times, changing settings, changing strategy.

For those who are curious — this is what a training manual for fixing mobile phone looks like.

Then we come to see a practical training.  The programme is set in such a way that one day of theoratical training is followed by 4 days of practical training at the shop.  I came to a beauty salon –girls were being learning the trade.  The other two professions in this programme that are taught are tailoring and motor bike fixing.

Trainees and the proud teacher who herself is a proud entrepreneur.  She maintains a family with two kids herself at the same time.  Both are at school — the boy at an English medium and the girl at a Bangla medium one.  Her husband works at a construction firm.

Yes.  This is the face of a new Bangladesh where people are finding opportunities for themselves in new areas.  No adversities can stop them from trying.

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