Skip to main content
Search the blog

May 05.11

Celebrating Mother's Day With Amarok Society

Posted In: Charity Pot

This Mother’s Day, we’re proud to feature one of our most inspiring Charity Pot partners, Amarok Society. Gabriel Munro tells us just how important the courage of mothers is to the success of this amazing grassroots education program.

Mother’s Day is a big deal for Amarok Society. Ever since day one, our organization has relied upon the courage and commitment of mothers, as we’ve asked the poorest women living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh to attend our schools for one purpose: that they will teach all that they learn to their children and their neighbors’ children, who otherwise would have no chance at an education.

Amarok's classroom of mothers

It’s this virtue – the courage and commitment of mothers – that is allowing us to spread education where there was only despair before, and foster tolerance, hope and understanding where extremism and violence would surely have taken root. It’s this virtue that stands up to the enraged husbands, fathers-in-law and slumlords in the name of a child’s future – insisting that the lives of Dhaka’s uncounted children should actually count for something.

I’d like to say that that’s where Sahara’s story began, but really, I’d do her an injustice to put it that way. Sahara’s story began earlier, and in a way that’s very typical for a girl born into urban poverty in Bangladesh. She grew up completely illiterate, both in her own language, Bangla, and in English, the language of opportunity in Bangladesh. She never learned even basic numeracy, and was therefore incapable of tasks as simple as counting her change at the market or even telling the time. Sahara was married while still a child and, as expected, began having children immediately. It’s hard to imagine living a life so constrained by the fetters of poverty and ignorance – but it’s perhaps even harder to imagine what it must feel like to know that you can’t prevent your children from donning those fetters either. But then three years ago, Sahara heard about an Amarok Society school for mothers opening in her slum.

Sahara, one of Amarok’s teachers

So let’s say that Sahara’s devotion to her children doesn’t mark the beginning of her story, but it certainly marks the beginning of a completely new chapter in her life. Despite the violent opposition of her husband, and the life-long indoctrination that education wasn’t for her, Sahara’s bravery prevailed, and she attended the school every day. Though she didn’t know how to hold a pencil when she enrolled, she soon learned numeracy and basic math skills, as well as literacy in English and Bangla—all of which she’s taught to her children and her neighbor’s children.

Sahara’s commitment and dedication have been such that we’ve recently hired her to be a teacher in a new school for mothers. Now Sahara can often be found far from her slum, in Amarok Society’s new office, which has been generously furnished by LUSH’s Charity Pot. This space allows teachers to meet and develop teaching materials together.

Sahara’s class practicing the English alphabet 

Where once she had to watch helplessly as poverty’s cycle unfurled itself once more, now Sahara is changing the lives of her children, the lives of all of the children whose mothers she teaches, and is working with her fellow teachers to bring hope to countless families in the slums of Bangladesh.



Gabriel Munro has been working with Amarok Society since his family began it in 2007, in every capacity from teaching classes, to composing music, to public relations and communications. Gabriel is also a musician and hosts a music radio show based in New York.