Sathi, 14, a student of class-VIII of Bagdi Gani High School, Bangladesh had a dream. She wanted to see the world. But before that happened she had an exam fee to pay! Her poor mother could not afford 80 taka (< $2 AUD/USD) only. Sathi went to school and told the teacher about her inability to pay 80 taka (< $2 AUD/USD). But the teacher punished her instead.
He made her hold her ears with hands crossing in front of hundreds of students in the open green field and made her say “I am sorry. I could not pay the fee”. Poor girl could not bear this and allegedly hanged herself from a wooden beam with a piece of cloth in her room.
Sathi’s younger sister discovered her hanging from the beam.
This happened in 2016, in Bangladesh.
Inability to pay exam fees does not deserve a punishment and a humiliation to this extent. It is the humiliation the girl went through made her take that horrid decision. Did it happen instantly, on one single day? Or was it a series of events that made her vulnerable, losing her control? We do not know. But we need to know. We quickly identified the culprit of low self-esteem that was robbing the future leaders of fulfilled and productive lives. We set out to take on this culprit head on! Since that time, we have been on a mission to empower girls and women in our communities. Eventually, SiTara’s Story was born in 2017 with a vision to empower women.