Siam Hussain Shimul was admitted to JAAGO Foundation’s school in Rayerbazar when he was six. At the age of 16, he has earned a two-year fully funded scholarship at the renowned United World College (UWC) in New Mexico, USA.
JAAGO and UWC signed a memorandum of understanding last November. UWC has 18 colleges around the world including USA, Singapore and India. This year, out of 127, UWC selected 30 applicants from different institutions of Bangladesh.
According to Sumaiya Masood, the administrative officer of UWC, Siam is the first student from Bangladesh to take part in the Davis-UWC Dare to Dream Programme. Both JAAGO and UWC are immensely hopeful about Siam. Other than having good academic results Siam has successfully met all of the curricular criteria that UWC looks for. Their international committee found his application to be an excellent one. Ayesha Dada, the Secretary General of UWC Society for Bangladesh, is a UWC graduate from Singapore. She explained that UWC is a chain organisation that promises to ensure top-quality education, going beyond nationalities, socioeconomic, cultural, racial and religious backgrounds of its students.
Siam’s father, Md Billal Hussain, a caretaker in Rayerbazar, had never even dreamed of sending his son to the US for pursuing higher education.
The founder of JAAGO Foundation, Korvi Rakshand, shares an emotional connection with Siam and his family. “Between my family business and my passion to bring positive changes to the society, I chose my passion. I left home and lived in front of Siam’s house in a small room for close to nine years. Siam’s mother cooked for me and treated me like a family member,” says Korvi. “Siam’s father is like a brother to me. In the initial days, he brought Siam and his sister as well as several other children to JAAGO’s school. I have always aimed to provide underprivileged children with opportunities of world-class education and now that Siam has received the scholarship, I feel really proud.”
Siam will be flying to the USA in mid-August, with a sponsored ticket from Qatar Airways. Through the JAAGO Foundation, an American couple Ishraq Shabib and Sharif Suraiya sponsored Siam for 10 years and later Dr Farhana Rashid Shumi started to sponsor him. Siam, who dreams of becoming a doctor, explained that he would not be the person that he is today without JAAGO’s support and care.