During the rainy season last summer, Teach For Bangladesh Fellows Amina Azad and Sadia Jafrin became alarmed with the sudden drop in attendance at the Gawair Nabin Primary School in Dhaka, as kids fell ill and no one knew why. Determined to help their students, the two set out to find the source of the problem. They soon discovered that blocked drains were causing the run-off of the heavy rainfall to mix with waste along the roads the students traveled to and from school, and the contaminated pools of water they walked through each day were the source of the infections on their feet.
As in many under-resourced communities, Gawair, where the students live and go to school, lacks a proper waste management system. Residents of Gawair and similar areas are often unaware of the health risks of improper waste management, and yet they’re the most exposed to its threats. Amina and Sadia recognized that a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable environment would benefit their students and their families in multiple ways, and that working towards better waste management in their community would directly impact their fundamental rights to adequate living standards, health, and quality education.