From slums of Dhaka to the USA: The incredible story of Siam

We all love underdogs. Rags to riches stories are quite popular amongst people. A story defying all odds has become a reality in our country because of the amazing resilience of a boy. A boy from the slums of Rayerbazar has managed a scholarship in one of the most prestigious IB programs of USA!

If anyone ever told MD Bilal Hossain, a caretaker in Rayerbazar, that his son would one day attend a prestigious program in the US, he would probably let out a big sigh or laugh it off. He had struggled quite a lot in maintaining the expenses of his family from his low-paid job. His struggles doubled when he lost his job right after admitting his only son, Siam Hossain, in a school of Jaago foundation in 2008.

Flash forward eleven years, Siam has successfully rekindled the hopes of his family for a better through his nothing less than stellar academic performance.

He has managed to earn a two-year scholarship at the renowned United World College (UWC) in New Mexico, USA.

Starting from the academic session 2019-20, the scholarship is worth $80,000.

Siam’s academic journey through years

This wonderful academic achievement didn’t come in a single day. Siam had always shown good performances in his academics.  He had achieved GPA-5 in the Primary Education Completion (PEC) examination in 2012. He had also registered an A grade from the science department at last year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.

The UWC programme

UWC (or United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with the mission to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. UWC consists of 18 schools and colleges on four continents, several short educational programmes, and national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide.

Siam has received a scholarship in their college of New Mexico. Most of these18 schools and colleges exclusively offer two-year residential programmes, for young people aged 16–19 years, during which they complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

“There was a time when I didn’t take my studies that seriously. However, hopes for better and higher schooling arose in my mind after being admitted to the Jaago Foundation School”

Siam said during a press conference at Jaago. 

Siam thanked his sponsors because there was a time he thought of quitting his studies because of financial hardship. He had also mentioned how his ambitions rose after his stellar result in the PECE examination. 

The dreams of Siam

Siam expressed his ambition to become either a doctor or a communication specialist. Upon completing his two-year course at the UWC, he would like to pursue higher education at a foreign university before returning home to serve the people.

5 Reasons why you should volunteer

Volunteering is about more than the impact one makes in the lives of those who are less fortunate. Volunteering can play a pivotal role in making a person more tolerant and more empathetic. It can be a practice in selflessness or can be motivated by advancing career goals. No matter what, volunteering improves and inspires individuals and communities.

Here are 5 reasons why you should volunteer, at least once.

Community involvement:

Volunteerism is one of the easiest ways to get involved with something that is bigger than yourself. It leads to many other opportunities. Besides, it’s easy to start with! You can start regardless of your academic score. If you are enthusiastic and have a will to make a difference by being an active part of the community, you already have everything that a volunteer needs to be.

“I was just a first-year college student with no prior experience when I first volunteered. The feeling that I am a part of a greater community working for a cause is so inspiring!”

Nawar, a volunteer at It’s Humanity Foundation (IHF), a non-profit organization based in Bangladesh, told us,
5 Reasons why you should volunteer

Career booster:

Volunteerism is an excellent way to boost your career prospects.
Recruiters and future bosses appreciate the skills, especially in leadership that you build by volunteering. It helps you make a positive impression. You are enriched by a wide range of useful skills. While you become a better version of yourself, your CV look more attractive and creative to prospective employers.

“I was so anxious when I was applying; I have heard how hard it is to get a job these days. To my surprise, my CV almost never got rejected and I always noticed how the employers were so keen to know about my volunteering experience,”

Said Adiba who has been an Executive at IHF where she started as a volunteer.

Learning new skills:

This is exactly why employers love a volunteer’s CV. Volunteering enables you to work in the field and gain a wide range of soft skills in the process.

“Facing problems on a daily basis, having to deal with a mix of personalities, all while adjusting to life outside of my comfort zone. All of that added up and helped me improve my teamwork, problem-solving and people skills,”

Said Nusrat, a seasoned volunteer at JAAGO Foundation and other organisations.
5 Reasons why you should volunteer

Building a network:

You meet people from all walks of life when you volunteer. You meet fellow volunteers who may be like-minded, but outside your current social circle. A conversation over this shared interest can have a lasting impact on your life. As you come across volunteers with different skills in different organisations, your professional circle expands.

“I got to surround myself with charismatic people through volunteerism and that changed my life!”

Maisha, who started as a volunteer at IHF and currently leads a women empowerment Project Protibha as the CEO told us,

Making a difference:

Volunteerism gives you a chance to contribute to your community on a daily basis. You can build towards the world you want to live in. You get to use your skills and civic responsibility for the greater good.

“How awesome it is being a part of an impact and actually getting to witness it? I would have never known if I hadn’t volunteered!”

Shams, who had previously volunteered at several organizations like Mastul Foundation and other local schools for underprivileged rural children.
Organizations you can donate your unused warm clothes to 3

Get started today!

If you aren’t currently volunteering, or have never volunteered before, it’s something you should try at least once in your life. Most organizations seeking volunteers often post online so a little bit of researching can help you find an opportunity. Even committing as little as an hour per week can have a profound benefit on your own life, and the organizations that rely on volunteers will be able to thrive. You can also reach out directly to an organization that you support and ask them what you can do to help. Just try doing something for a community that needs help and you will get back more than you can ever imagine.

Cheers!