Shawkot Ali has been an Ottawa taxi driver for the past 10 years. His dream was to give back to his homeland and so in 2006, he went to Bangladesh and built the Maleka Academy, named after his late mother.
The school, located in southeastern Bangladesh, is for elementary and secondary school students.
After he provides for his wife and two children in Ottawa, Ali said the rest of the money he earns goes to the school.
The school has grown from less than 10 students when it opened, to nearly 600.
“My mom told me, ‘do something for your country,’” Ali said. “You can say my dream came true.”
Ali visits the school at least once or twice a year but says he is in constant contact with staff through daily e-mails and phone calls.
“They send me everything,” he said. “Details from beginning to end of the day at school…how many students come, how many didn’t do homework, how many are sick.”
Ali said the students are like family.
“If anybody asks me ‘how many kids do you have?’ I say I have 500 kids because they are my kids.”
Ali hopes to one day offer university education at the school.
With a report from CTV’s Katie Griffin