Singing soccer player from the Garo tribe

Priyanka Dio, a 16-year-old student of the Monoshapara boarding school, is a remarkable person. She comes from a family of five and is a keen student who sings, dances, plays soccer, works on the field and builds relationships just everywhere. This year, she has reached rock bottom when she became ill.

Starring: a woman

Priyanka comes from the Garo tribe, known for its spiritually strong, hard-working and proud women and matrilineality (family privileges and possessions are inherited through the female line). She has a brother (15 years old) and a sister (9 years old) who go to a village school. Their dad, Ashim Raksam (40 years old), works as a day laborer. His health is fragile; he is aging and getting weaker. That means he is not able to work as hard as in the past – his income is not high enough for the family to make ends meet. Priyanka’s mom, Kohima Dio (35 years old), takes care of the whole family, while trying to help her husband with his work. The family does not own any land. They are completely dependent on the father’s income and, in the case of Priyanka’s education, on donations from her Czech sponsor.

Members of the family have a happy relationship with each other. The children help their parents with everyday tasks, cooking and carrying water. Priyanka enjoys love and encouraging to study not only from both parents, but also from both her siblings. The family’s “mantra” is: “Study hard and your future will be bright!”

School as a hobby

Priyanka goes to the tenth grade at the Monoshapara boarding school, located near the north Bangladesh–India border. She likes the school a lot, always trying to put up her best performance. Among her best friends are Shila, Balshri and Clodia. They study and spend free time together. Priyanka likes to discuss things with them and share her opinion. As a true Garo woman, she does not tolerate tardiness or disorder. She always encourages her friends to fulfil their duties as best as they can. They help each other and stick together. For instance, when one of them has too much work and obligations, the others get her the school lunch.

Soccer superstar

Priyanka’s hobbies are extraordinary in number as well as in range. You might be surprised by the fact that she plays soccer. She has been inspired by the Bangladeshi government that supports inter-school competitions for girls. Monoshapara, however, does not take part in any league (it is too far away from other schools), but its own classes compete against each other. This year, the school’s “Shining Star Club” organized a sports event where Priyanka’s team won. She was the only girl from the whole team who scored goals. We asked her what soccer gave her and she said: “I love playing soccer. It keeps me fit and healthy.” Priyanka also likes books, music and dancing. It was her group that won this year’s school singing competition with the song “Tumar sloy alokito hok, Provu Bangladesh”. She commented on their success: “I wasn’t even nervous. But when the jury said we’d won, I was really surprised and very happy. It’s awesome!” Then she added: “I usually sing alone and receive very good feedback from my schoolmates and teachers. I think this school will remember me very well when I finish my studies.” :)

Difficult moments make you stronger

Our lives are not only about winning – sometimes we face difficulties. In May, Priyanka became ill. She had fevers and stomach aches which grew worse day by day in spite of the school nurse’s care. Priyanka, the healthy girl full of life, the singing and dancing soccer player, was suddenly so weak that she could not get up from her bed. After a week, the school called her parents and asked them to take her home. They managed to get enough money to pay for a doctor, but their daughter’s health kept worsening. They were terribly worried about her. She described her illness: “I suffered a lot, even thinking I might never recover and die. They were the worst and most painful days of my life. When they hospitalized me, my mom took care of me. She stayed by my side all the time, held my hand, comforted me, saying I would soon get better. After a month in the hospital bed, I started recovering. They took me back home from the hospital and I found myself looking forward to going to school again.” :)

From bed to school on a motorcycle

Priyanka’s recovery was then a matter of days. She said: “Mom kept taking care of me at home, and when I was completely healthy, I returned to school. They came for me on a motorcycle (the school is 7 km away), so I took a ride. My teachers and schoolmates were very glad to see me again, and I was happy to be there at school with them again.” We should note that traveling is also one of her hobbies.

Then Priyanka passed a last-minute test and now she is preparing for her SSC (Secondary School Certificate). She is very grateful for her Czech donor; and after finishing the secondary school, she plans to study at university, obtain a degree and work very hard. It seems that she (as well as her mom) is really an invincible and proud Garo woman to the maximum extent. :)

“I think this school will remember me very well when I finish my studies.” :)

PS: Priyanka is involved in ADRA’s BanglaKids program that helps children from poor families in receiving education. This type of help, well-known in the Czech Republic, is called children sponsorship. You, too, can become one of the donors! Find more information at www.banglakids.cz

More information about program Support BanglaKids

BanglaKids is a development program of ADRA Czech Republic.
Since 1999 we have provided education to 6,500 children in Bangladesh.
Together, we’re giving them an opportunity for a better future.

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