30 December, 2022, 12:00 pm

Last modified: 30 December, 2022, 12:02 pm

Environmentalist Matin Saikat holds the wings of an eagle in front of his Bangladesh Poribesh School, the country’s one and only environment school, in Daudkandi upazila of Cumilla. Photo: TBS


Environmentalist Matin Saikat holds the wings of an eagle in front of his Bangladesh Poribesh School, the country’s one and only environment school, in Daudkandi upazila of Cumilla. Photo: TBS

The road straight north from Daudkandi’s Putia on the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway leads to Adampur village.

The paved road which snakes along the village, surrounded by floodplains, is a hint of something unique. 

And before one has the chance to fully immerse themselves in the scenic rural vista, they are confronted by a sign, placed atop an unimposing one-storey building. 

“Bangladesh Poribesh School”, the sign reads.

This is Bangladesh’s one and only environment school, where farmers, conservationists, environmentalists, students and people from all walks of life converge to discuss a greener and more sustainable Bangladesh.

Photo: TBS

Photo: TBS

Photo: TBS

The brainchild of agriculturalist and environmentalist Matin Saikat, the three-roomed school was set up in 2021.

It started its journey as a research institute with a view to creating public awareness on environment conservation, pollution control, climate, agriculture, rivers, irrigation, biodiversity and safe food.

This initiative received a huge response in Daudkandi. 

Matin Saikat said, “I just started the initiative. Now thousands of environmental activists are working.”

Explaining the role of the school, he said, “This is an exception to what a school usually means. There are no regular students or teachers here. There is no salary or examination system. Many do not have the opportunity to acquire formal education in their lifetime and it is not possible for everyone to acquire higher education. But everyone is socially literate. That education is put to use in this school. And it got a huge response. School, college, madrasa teachers and environmentalists sit in this school and give various tips on the environment to locals and students.”

Photo: TBS

Photo: TBS

Photo: TBS

Matin is no stranger to such work.

He has also promoted and taught farmers of Adampur and surrounding villages how to cultivate vegetables without using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. 

Since 1997, Matin Saikat has dedicated himself to the development of agriculture, environment and society. 

He has been rescuing and releasing birds since 2006. The number of rescued birds is more than 1,500. Birds flock at the floodplains to hunt fishes and are often found injured. Matin rescues and treats them.

He also rescues and releases many wild animals. 

Thanks to his thirty years of effort, the government has re-excavated the Kaladumur river. He also took initiatives to set up nurseries and implement tree plantation programs. He created public awareness for building wildlife sanctuaries. 

He has set an example by providing irrigation facilities to three villages – Adampur, Putia and Singula – for only Tk200. 

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Matin Saikat received the Bangabandhu National Agriculture Medal twice and the National Environment Medal once in recognition of his work.

Mahfuza Begum, head teacher of Putia CCDA Government Primary School in Daudkandi, said Matin has been doing charitable work since childhood. He is the president of Adampur Adarsh Complex. One of his many service projects is the Environment School.

Local environmental activist Faisal Sakir said patriotism blossomed in the work of Matin. “I grab every opportunity to work with him. I feel blessed to be a partner in his work.”

Ali Akbar Masum, general secretary of Bangladesh Environment Movement (Bapa) Cumilla, said Matin Saikat is not only an environmentalist, he is also a teacher. It is difficult to find people who play a role in social and environmental movements in Bangladesh. The common people of Daudkandi get strength from such positive activities.

Daudkandi executive officer Moinul Hasan said this work of Matin Saikat will be an example for society.

“We are ready to provide all possible support from the upazila administration to protect the environment and take the school forward,” he said.

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