Dreams to Reality through education


We can achieve the results we seek from the actions we initiate today.

This basic ideology motivated the young girls from Bangladesh to overcome their current predicament and break free from their family’s poverty-stricken situation. Their dreams and passion for learning and developing themselves overcame all the restraints — physical and emotional.

A few years ago, these inspiring dreamers received their first major break when they met Maria Da Conceicao, founder of Maria Cristina Foundation – a non-profit organisation that focuses on offering education to the underprivileged in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The girls were living in makeshift homes in slums that were surrounded with garbage and filth. The scarcity of resources and livelihood within the slum were drastic and gave no room to pave the way for a bright future that these girls envisioned. Also, the opportunities to go abroad was limited due to the travel restrictions upon the Bangladeshi citizens – especially young girls. However, Maria, on seeing the hope in the girls’ faces, never gave up. She embarked on a journey to ensure these girls received a chance at life, an opportunity to grow from the situation they were born in. These girls have evolved into bright and energetic individuals who speak fluent English and have ambitions far beyond their complicated beginnings. This has been made possible with Maria’s drive and desire to bring these girls out of the poverty, prostitution, slavery, and destitution in Bangladesh.

The girls were granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the UAE – the land where they can fulfill their growing aspirations. It was made possible thanks to the Office of HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Tolerance, who arranged the visas for the initial visit of eight girls. Their dreams of being pilots, artists, doctors, and even a standup comedian – were about to be realised after they met Vasudevan Nair Presanna Raj, managing director of Athena Education, at the group head office in Dubai. Presanna Raj, a visionary who believes in improving the lives of others through social grace and providing a quality learning experience in a safe and stimulative environment for children, has generously announced to fully support the girls’ education right through to Year 12 and beyond.

Armed with a platform to realise their dream, the girls were moved with this kind gesture as they realised that they will be able to learn and improve and achieve their dreams and goals, as well as provide an inspiration to those who share the same background. This portrayed not just the flip to a new chapter in their lives but the entire narrative of their story.