Naeem dreams of one day being captain of Bangladesh (Copyright: WFP/Emamul Haque)
Nine-year-old Naeem and his mother, who works in the textile industry, live by themselves in a tiny one-room shack in Dhaka’s Mirpur slum area.
Naeem wakes up at seven every morning and gets ready for school. Some days, his mother gives him a ten taka note as lunch money before she leaves for work.
Ever since WFP’s School Feeding programme started in his school, through which he and his classmates are provided with fortified biscuits as a snack, Naeem has been a regular student and has done much better in class. The biscuits not only help keep his stomach full, but the added nutrients in his otherwise meagre diet also helps fend off common ailments, making him a healthier and more attentive student.
At school, Naeem’s favourite subject is English and he knows why. “By learning to speak and write in English, I can express myself to the rest of the world, tell them about myself and my dreams, as well as learn more new things,” he says.
In the afternoon, Naeem heads home from school for a quick lunch and then rushes outdoors to meet his friends for a quick game of cricket. Cricket is Naeem’s passion and he dreams of nothing more than to be a world famous bowler someday. He is aware that his dream will only come true if he practices enough, which he tries his best to fit in between going to school and his arduous job at a stone-breaking factory in the afternoons.
His job keeps him strenuously occupied until dusk, when he heads back home, washes up and sits with his books, while waiting for his mother to prepare something for dinner when she gets back from work. Most days, her work keeps her away until late at night, so Naeem usually goes nextdoor, to his aunt’s house for dinner.
Then he then heads to bed, and his dreams of playing cricket all day with his favourite cricketer, Shakib Al Hassan, the captain of Bangladesh. One day, Naeem wants that job.