Shougat Nazbin Khan, a 27-year-old from Bangladesh, established H. A. Digital School & College, now serving 600 students from 50 underprivileged communities in Bangladesh with a focus on socio-economic empowerment of women.

“In a community vulnerable to violence, we are giving young people and children real hope for a better future,” says Shougat. Growing up in a family of educators, Shougat recognized the unique role of education in transforming lives. In 2014, she founded the H.A. Digital School and College on her parents’ land in Northern Bangladesh to educate disadvantaged communities with a special focus on the socio-economic empowerment of women. The school has developed curricula that are responsive to rural realities and gender, including ICT and entrepreneurship training, health and environment training, adult literacy and services to end violence. Now in its second academic year, more than 600 students from 50 villages are studying at the school, while 90% of the teaching staff are women. “The rapid growth of the institute has broadened the community’s vision of technology as a tool for developing the skills of young people,” says Shougat. “I believe in this model’s immense potential to promote peace, reduce extreme poverty and uphold environmental and sustainable development.” In addition to her work at the crossroads of women’s empowerment and access to a decent education, Shougat developed a low-cost solar PV irrigation system for farmers for which she won the prestigious Green Talent award in 2015.