Meet Mst. Anika Tabassum, the First Student from Bangladesh to Win the “Hunsaker Scholarship”

Hailing from a small village in the Jhenaidah district, Mst. Anika Tabassum was one of the few girls from her village who was fortunate enough to receive an education. And she turned this opportunity to change her life by winning a “Hunsaker scholarship” from the University of Redlands. She is the first student from Bangladesh to win this scholarship.

Her journey from Jhenaidah to the USA has not been an easy one. She had to fight not only financial challenges but also family prejudice. She joined the National Youth Assembly, the biggest youth assembly in Bangladesh, organised by Volunteer for Bangladesh, and was inspired by the Education USA stall to go abroad for education. During the covid lockdown, she started applying to different universities in the USA. Even though she did not have the money to register for the SAT, she persevered. She opened an online business and managed the money from there. A firm believer of the ‘never-give-up’ ideology, Anika had a dream – to not just receive a higher education but to do so from one of the best universities in the USA. Her stellar application impressed the admissions committee so much that the university, sponsored a fully-funded trip for her to attend the interview in person.

Getting into the University of Redlands was the result of continuous effort and hard work. Anika was actively involved in various activities, including volunteering. She joined Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD) in 2017. Her enthusiasm for volunteering and social work set her apart from all her peers. She was inspired by all the initiatives VBD undertook on its mission to bring about positive social change. VBD played a crucial part in her journey and helped enormously in her applications.

A girl from a remote village going to the USA on a full scholarship for higher studies seems like something dreamed up by an over-imaginative mind. But this has been made possible by her through sheer determination and hard work. She has overcome all obstacles life threw at her to come to the position she is in now. We wish her a prosperous and fruitful life.

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