Of the 1.5 million students who passed the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations this year, few could match the achievements of three girls who overcame great difficulties on their paths to success.
Sharmin Akhter from Rajapur upazila in Jhalakati hit headlines in both local and international media in 2015 when she courageously resisted her mother’s attempt to marry her off.
She appeared for the SSC examination from Rajapur Pilot Secondary Girls’ School this year and passed, securing GPA 4.32 from the humanities group.
Sharmin had to file a case against her mother and the youth she was forcefully betrothed to. This act helped her get the media’s attention and win recognition of her rights.
She was among 13 personalities across the world to receive the 2017 International Women of Courage Award from US First Lady Melania Trump in March.
“It is my lifelong dream to become a lawyer and to stand with the oppressed women of the country,” Sharmin told the Dhaka Tribune.
Taslima Khatun, a hearing and speech-impaired girl from Ghatail upazila in Tangail, has also astounded all by securing GPA 3.23 from the humanities group.
These are not the only impairments Taslima has had to fight against: her family has had to overcome poverty for her to be successful in her studies.
Taslima has two more siblings and her father, Badar Duddin, is a day labourer from Korna village in Ghatail upazila.
Taslima’s mother Shahina Begum said she was very happy with her daughter’s achievement but said the family had “been in great hardship” and were “concerned about Sharmin’s future studies”.
Another physically-impaired girl, Mosammat Nice Khatun from Dhunot upazila of Bogra district, has also passed the exam from Dhunot NU Pilot High School with GPA 3.55 from the humanities group.
Both of Nice Khatun’s legs as well as her right hand are not fully functional.
Her father used to carry her on his lap.
She also appeared for the exam in the same fashion.
“If there is a will, there is a way. It was willpower that helped me to continue my studies,” said Nice Khatun, adding that she is resolute in becoming a teacher after completing her studies.
Meanwhile, 15 of 20 disabled and jail-serving students passed the SSC exams under Rajshahi Education Board.
The board’s Education Controller Prof Torun Kumar Sarker told Dhaka Tribune that the results of four such examinees were withheld and would be published after re-examination of their exam papers.