At 63, an age where most people would seek to retire to a life of leisure, Lokman Ali runs a free school for children in Baroghariya Adarshapara village in the Aditmari upazila, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur. After losing his home and belongings to floods in the Teesta river, he dedicated his early life to educating his four children – even if it meant he had to go hungry himself. His children are now successful in their line of work – and this inspired him to educate all children in his village.
Every morning, he opens his doors to students from 7:30am to 10:30am. He holds free classes in four tin huts he owns and gives all his students free books and stationary. They come back in the afternoon at 4:00pm and he teaches them till sunset. His remaining time is spent going door to door and following up on his weaker students, and teaching the parents – who are mostly local farmers and day laborers – about the importance of a complete education.
The children who study at his school do very well in state exams and formal public schools. Lokman Ali wants to teach all children who live in the bank of the river Teesta – and give them a brighter future.