Nearly 2 million of the pupils attending primary school are outside the official age range, primarily due to over-age enrollment. Repetition and drop-out rates remain high, resulting in an inefficient cycle time of 6.6 years. It is reported ( Daily Star 2009) that about 50% of students who are admitted to grade 1 drop out before completing five years of primary education mainly due to poverty. Rate of survival to grade 5 of only about 54 percent. Pupil assessments have found that those who do complete the primary cycle perform on average at a third grade achievement level , lack essential problem-solving skills and almost one third of students leave primary school without acquiring basic competencies. Not surprisingly, these problems are more acute among socio-economically disadvantaged groups, such as rural population, ethnic minorities, slum-dwellers, and the poor. Poverty impedes households' ability to pay for school fees and/or other direct and indirect (eg "donations" for school authorities) costs that may be required for school admission or full participation in primary school. Studies also show that private tutoring is a pervasive practice even at the primary level, both as means of compensating for poor quality instruction in school and of augmenting teachers' salaries. It is reported by Education Watch study 2006 43% percent of government primary school had private tutors. Unsatisfactory quality of education in the school forces the parents either for private tutoring or pull out their children from the school aggravating the drop out and non attendance.
These realities and challenges have motivated LEADS to move forward. In early 2007 LEADS started its journey through its education programme EQUIP (Education QUality Improvement Project) as education is one of the main ingredients for human resource development and alleviation of poverty and can be an effective vehicle for empowerment because it can transform the ways in which people communicate.
Although the organization is taking necessary step for the children to be regular in their school , through its Education project EQUIP but due to ill health the guardians are not mentally at peace to send their children to school regularly . Different studies revealed that lack of awareness about health and hygiene , absence of appropriate medical care and lack of food are major reason for ill health. Keeping all these in mind the organization has also given top priority to improve the health , nutrition environment and sanitation of the poor community through the EQUIP family members so that the children are able to continue their studies. The health project named HEALTH- Health Enrichment and Life skills Training for better Human, aims to ensure better health of the children and their families through different awareness programme and logistic support. . These awareness programmes demanded for life skill and livelihood training for the target beneficiaries as we know that still there are huge unemployed people in the country and the scarcities of work not only affect unemployment but also their families which then force them to withdraw their children from school . Many families suffer from poverty as they do not have earning member in the family or any other alternate source of income . Especially , female headed households often suffer from chronic poverty as women fail to secure job due to the reason they do not have necessary education and skill. Therefore , to bring the families out of poverty and reduce the financial burden LEADS also is providing livelihood support with life skills training to the families of EQUIP children , especially their mother and female guardians. Its gives them opportunity for alternative income generating source.
LEADS is the social activity of TRK Consultancy Services. It works towards development of the underprivileged section of the community and support only poor children enrolled in different government primary schools with better and more effective learning process in existing government curriculum, while developing their social awareness and basic moral values. LEADS only supports children who continue their education in government primary schools, instead of taking them away.
It has been started with the own finance and initiative of the Executive Director . The children here do not only have the after school support they are also provided support to develop their moral values which they are asked to disseminate to others . The children are educating their parents and their friends by this and multiplying the knowledge.
Cobra and Mongoose Charity Group from Australia and some sponsors through Richard Gay a group member of Cobra and Mongoose Charity Group started funding LEADS from 2010 after they visited the project and is reducing the financial burden but majority of the funding is contributed by the ED through its TRK Consultancy works and her own personal fund. IDLC Bangladesh extended their help by providing Water filters, education materials etc to the poor children and their families. LEADS provides tiffin to the children everyday as they come from school to study. People sometime provide food when desire or to celebrate death or birth anniversaries of their relatives or parents. It gives them pleasure to see for themselves children enjoying the food. Working with these underprivileged children always reminds us how lucky we are and small contribution from our everyday expense can change the life of many poor children. LEADS has a plan to extend its activity in Uttara soon so your contribution will help us to support more children and change the life of many poor families ! If you wish to know more about our projects and see our activities please contact me.