Austrian Foreign Minister visits HOPE'87 Mobile Quality School in Bangladesh

Dr. Karin Kneissl, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had the opportunity to visit the Mobile Quality School (MQS) run by HOPE'87-Bangladesh during her nine-day regional visit to South Asia. The mobile school bus is part of an aid project run by the organisation which provides quality education for the poor and vulnerable children living in the slums of Bangladesh, mainly in the Dhaka and Chittagong districts. The mobile school runs on Monday-Thursday from 8:00-21:00 where just over 400 students are enrolled in the program. Thanks to HOPE'87 these under-priviledged children now have access to free quality education.

The guiding principles for the program state that education is a fundamental human right and significantly contributes to the realization of other rights, and it is a foundation for the greater ideas of human fulfillment, peace, sustainable development, economic growth, decent work, gender equality and responsible global citizenship. Inclusive education is a key strategy to reach UNESCO's idea of "Education for All", which is seen as an over-arching principle that potentially leads to good educational policy and practice and makes education a basic human right. 

The Austrian Minister met with Rezaul Karim, Country Director of HOPE'87-Bangladesh, and also present with them were Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Abu Zafar, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Austria and Tasvir Ul lslam, Austrian Consul in Bangladesh. She was able to meet some of the kids in the MQS and had the opportunity to sit down with the students during class. Minister Kneissl was happy observe the eagerness and the passion from the kids to learn and be able to recieve an education. "To see how people in the slums are trying to get access to education is something that goes right through me" she says. "It shakes you to the core to see the precarious circumstances in which many people are trying to learn something new." The minister was very relaxed on the bus as the children sang songs and waved the Austrian and Bangladeshi flags. The kids were overjoyed by the Foreign Minister's visit and Kneissl had a wonderful time with the students.

The MQS project lines up with one of UNESCO's educational strategy objectives, which focuses on empowering learners to be creative and responsible global citizens. By sharing the experience with all interested parties of the public and private educational sector, the project advocates for developing an educational system that fosters quality and inclusive lifelong education for all. This is also encouraged and promoted by UNESCO.

HOPE'87-Bangladesh has a long experience with working on educational projects for marginalized children and vulnerable youth throughout the country. The MQS project is raising awareness to the lack of education of the working and slum children and is creating a model for an alternative schooling opportunities for vulnerable children.

The MQS is run by the financial assistance of HOPE'87 Austria, ZF hilft and YOU Foundation-Education for Children in Need. HOPE'87 also thanks all its donors for contributing to the projects and efforts made in Bangladesh.

Link to MoFA:

https://www.bmeia.gv.at/das-ministerium/presse/aussendungen/2019/02/karin-kneissl-zu-gast-in-bangladesch/