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Light of Hope Founder Waliullah Bhuiyan Wins Best Entrepreneur Award, Light of Hope’s Growing Education Ecosystem

In a significant recognition for his contributions to children's education in Bangladesh, Waliullah Bhuiyan, the founder of Light of Hope Ltd., has been given the prestigious National SME Foundation Award 2023 by the SME Foundation. The award underscores Waliullah's important role in preparing the nation's youth for the challenges of the 21st century. He received the award from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the first day of the 11th National SME Fair held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital on May 19th, per a press release shared with FS. 

This year, a total of seven founders including Waliullah Bhuiyan have received this prestigious award. Waliullah won the award in the Small Entrepreneur (Male) Category.

Waliullah was previously given the Unilever Global Entrepreneur Award in 2018 and completed the Sustainable Leadership program at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The Vision Behind Light of Hope

Waliullah's journey began with a profound realization: equipping children with the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly competitive global world is paramount. Driven by this vision, he returned to Bangladesh after completing his studies in Germany, armed with a master's degree in Energy and Environmental Management, and a deep commitment to transforming the educational landscape. That’s how Light of Hope came into being in 2017. 

From a small operation, Light of Hope Ltd. has built a comprehensive ecosystem designed to cultivate 21st-century skills in children aged 3 to 10 years. Through meticulously researched learning products, content, and courses, the company aims to foster crucial abilities such as empathy, creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence – equipping the nation's youth with critical future skills. 

Today, the company owns a series of initiatives across media franchises, after-school programs, teachers’ training, books and toys and games, library, and more. 

A Comprehensive Ecosystem Around Education 

At the heart of Light of Hope Ltd.'s endeavors lies Goofi, a media franchise tailored for children. Waliullah has masterfully crafted an ensemble of now highly popular characters that resonate deeply with young audiences, serving as tools for imparting valuable life lessons and fostering personal growth.

These characters have inspired a series of richly illustrated children's books, penned by Waliullah himself, that weave engaging stories with powerful messages. Complementing the literary works, animated adaptations of these stories have found their way onto television screens, ensuring that millions of children can benefit from the lessons they impart.

The company's Kids Time initiative, which began as a creative after-school program in 2017, now offers a diverse array of courses for children, both online and through physical centers. To date, over 4,000 children have graduated from programs with lessons across craft, drawing, story-making, spoken English and Singapore Math courses.

The company's Teachers Time brand provides direct training to educators and parents, empowering them with effective parenting strategies. The initiative has trained over 20,000 teachers and more than 100,000 parents, fostering a supportive ecosystem for child development.

Under a project called Porua, the company established 620 libraries in schools across Bangladesh with age-appropriate books to help children improve their reading skills. Today, more than 250,000 children have access to these books, nurturing their reading skills and igniting their intellectual curiosity.

An Enduring Vision 

In accepting the National SME Foundation Award, Bhuiyan expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ministry of Commerce, and the SME Foundation for acknowledging the importance of his work. He emphasized that this recognition will inspire his team to uphold the award's prestige and motivate them to introduce their products and services to the global market.

Bhuiyan said, “I have been working on children's education for almost 10 years now. We are probably the only private initiative in Bangladesh that is working to prepare children  for the future. It gives me tremendous joy and also satisfaction that the Bangladesh Government has recognized the importance of our work.  This will encourage my entire team and inspire us to bring our products and services to the global market.”

The world of education is changing rapidly under the pressure of a host of forces including, but not limited to, technology, changing social perception, and an increasingly global world. Light of Hope has been building a series of initiatives across the entire education value chain to prepare kids for the world to come. 

While the company has a series of different initiatives in different verticals, seeing from a certain perspective, they all connect with each other and in fact reinforce each other. 

As Light of Hope Ltd. continues to expand and grow, its products and services will shape the educational landscape in Bangladesh. That brings us to the reality of a huge opportunity and the question of obligation for the company. We’ll be closely following where the company goes next. 

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