OBAT Elementary School is located in Halishaher trade school camp. Halishaher Trade School was established in 1963 to offer vocational training to students. In 1971, after the independence of Bangladesh, ICRC (International Committee of Red Cross) turned the Halishaher Trade School into a camp for stranded Pakistanis. People working in jute and cotton mills, who were rescued by ICRC from various places, took shelter there and it became their permanent residence. At present, nearly seven hundred stranded Pakistani families are living in Halishaher. An International NGO, Concern World Wide, ran the elementary school for Bihari children from 1972 to 2003. They closed the school in December 2003 due to strategic changes in their organization.
The new school was started by the present principal, Sohail Khan in 2003. Known as, The Need Elementary school, at that time, it was initially formed with one classroom and one teacher and gradually turned into a full fledge elementary school. The total annual cost of running the school is $6000 a year.
In 2005, Mr. Anwar Khan, President of OBAT, visited the Halishaher camp. During his visit, he watched the cultural show put up by the students of the Need Elementary School and it left a deep impact on him. He decided that OBAT would finance the Need Elementary School from 2006. From March 2008 onwards, the school was completely financed by OBAT. Three classes have graduated from the Halishaher Elementary School so far. Last year, 13 students of fifth grade took the PSC (Elementary School Certificate) exam. The PSC exam is organized by the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh. A total of two million students took this exam. Of the thirteen students who took this exam, eleven students passed it. Two students obtained the first division, two students achieved the 2nd division and seven students obtained the 3rd division. OBAT is the only non-profit organization which is running a school for disadvantaged children in the camps. Educating these poverty stricken children is the only means through which their lives can be transformed and they can eventually have access to acceptable living conditions.
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to our new school sponsor - Mr and Mrs Shahid Athar of Zionsville, IN for their generosity in assuming the financial responsibility of Halishaher School, Chittagong.
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