How a Peterborough charity is helping provide education for disadvantaged children across Asia

One Peterborough charity has gone the extra mile to not only help people in the city but also to provide education to over 1000 children across Asia.

By Ben Jones
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:54 pm
School children in Bangladesh show off their Covid-19 wristbands.
School children in Bangladesh show off their Covid-19 wristbands.

The Zi Foundation was founded six years ago by local businessman Zillur Hussain to make a difference in the community.

Since then, their work has benefited thousands of lives in the city, especially during the pandmeic.

Right at the start of March 2020, the foundation organised the delivery of meals and hand sanitizer to 500 of the most vulnerable people in the city.

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One of the brand new school buildings built by the Zi Foundation.

He has gone on giving away free meals, giving away more than 13,000 during the first four months of the Covid-19 crisis and this March, he gave away 1000 free meals to deserving mothers on Mother’s Day. The foundation has also given away well over 10,000 face masks.

Their work also extends internationally too, with Zillur’s desire to help people extending to the country of his heritage, Bangladesh.

While access to education and literacy rates in Bangladesh have improved over the last few decades, there are still many that are left behind by the system and particularly in rural villages. A lack of transport links can leave remote villages and the people living in them effectively cut off from the rest of the country.

In order to give children in remote villages the best chance of an education, the Zi Foundation has funded the building of three schools in Bangladesh and a fourth in near-neighbour Nepal. Each school caters for around 300 pupils with over 1000 pupils in total provided for.

Pupils and staff at one of the Zi Foundation's new schools.

All the buildings are fitted out with the latest protection against Covid-19 and hostels to house the children have also been built.

All of the building work has been funded by the Zi Foundation, with help from contacts in Bangladesh, including Zillur’s father whose business ventures include construction, as well as owning a number of shops.

Alongside this, Zillur and a number of friends, family and local businessmen are sponsoring many of the children. For £20 a month, they can cover all of their food and accomodation costs.

Zillur said: “We just want to give back. We are focusing on the rural areas as that is where people face the most challenges in getting an education.

Pupils and staff at one of the Zi Foundation's new schools.

“Sponsoring a child means so much to them, for me it’s an amount that I can easily afford but it can do so much good for a child in a rural village in Bangladesh. When you go out there and visit them, they are all so happy and grateful and are always smiling.

“I think that it is really important to do what you can for others and that is why the Zi Foundation is proud to be able to provide these schools in Bangladesh and Nepal.”