Rupa Khatun is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a village on the Gumani River in northwestern Bangladesh. She is in the 3rd grade on a boat school. As is often the case in Bangladesh, Rupa’s parents won’t let her travel to a distant government school, fearing for the girl’s safety. The boat school docks a five-minute walk from her home. Rupa has her sights set on becoming a pilot.
Ruma Khatun is no relation to Rupa, but they are best friends. Ruma also attends 3rd grade on the boat school, which docks a five-minute walk from her home. Her mother, who had almost no formal education, is hopeful Ruma will continue her education and get a job. At the moment, Ruma wants to be a teacher.
Golapy Khatun (no relation to Rupa or Ruma) is a young woman who is using the floating libraries to gain computer skills. She is setting a precedent in her family – the first to go to college. She’s studying to be a law enforcement inspector.
Hasinur Rahman is a 17-year-old high school student who visits the library boats regularly for free Internet access. Drawn to the technology, he aspires to create an IT training center in this remote region as a way to fight poverty. He told us, “Literate and illiterate, all will get my message about computer training.”