From a house help, to almost becoming a child bride, to finally becoming a Microsoft brand ambassador, this is the story of Kurigram's Fatema
Five years ago, Fatema was an 11-year-old child maid. She went to work at an early age as her family fought poverty. She was ecstatic when she was called back to her village, Bhuiyantari of Nageshari upazila in Kurigram district.
However, it was not to be reunited with her family, but to be married.
“My happiness turned to horror, as I realized I’d been brought back to be married to a man who was 25-years-old”, she told Microsoft, who published a feature about her on their website on January 2018.
Dramatically, just when the marriage was to be performed, a representative from a local non-profit organization that teaches digital skills to empower rural girls, intervened and saved her from the horrors of child-marriage.
Ashar Alo Pathshala, the non-profit that rescued her, soon got national attention. The organization took the responsibility of her education. Fatema faced pressure from her family to get married but she stayed determined and continued her education.
Fatema was then admitted to grade 4. She went on to achieving GPA 5 in both her PSC and JSC examination. She is continuing her education and is helping other young girls rise from the clutches of poverty and child-marriage.
What became Fatema’s weapon on her way was receiving computer education at Ashar Alo Pathshala. Along with that, she started learning the English language. Her strengths have made her the representative of marginalized Bangladeshi women.
She has been made into a Microsoft brand ambassador. Microsoft Philanthropies is a proud supporter of Aashar Alo Patshala, the latter becoming part of the biggest youth network in Bangladesh, Young Bangla, counting over 70,000 members across 200 partner organizations.
Fatema turned her life around and used her education to become an advocate and campaigner against child marriage in Bangladesh.