Mehedi lives in Camp No. 5 in Bangalipur area of Syedpur district with his father Mohammad Jabed and mother Mosammat Sabera. His parents had big dreams for Mehedi as he was their only child. They decided to ensure a good education for him no matter how difficult it was for them to manage it. When Mehedi got to class five, the school authorities asked his parents to provide a copy of Mehedi’s birth certificate which was a government requirement for the registration for primary school certificate (PSC) examination at the end of class five. Jabed and Sabera had no idea about what a birth certificate was and how or from where to get it. They became heavily distressed worrying Mehedi’s future.

Jabed asked his neighbors for their help. One of the neighbors told him that there were two paralegals in Syedpur working for the Council of Minorities (COM) who helped to get birth certificates for his children. Jabed immediately got in touch with a COM paralegal and asked for her help. Mehedi did not have an immunization card. So, the paralegal first helped Jabed to get an immunization card issued for Mehedi from the municipality office. Then she helped Jabed to fill in the birth certificate application form, got it signed by the ward councilor and went back to the municipality to submit it. But the officials at the birth registration section refused to accept the application claiming that in 2007 municipality officials went to every household and issued birth certificates for everyone. They further said that they will issue a birth certificate for Mehedi only if copies of his parents’ birth certificates are submitted with the application. Neither Jabed nor Sabera had birth certificates so they became very much disheartened by this. The paralegal then took them directly to the mayor of Syedpur municipality and shared the situation with him. The mayor asked Jabed and Sabera if they had national identity (NID) cards and they said yes. The paralegal informed the mayor that in 2007 when municipality officials were enlisting for birth registration by doing household visits they did not go to the camps of the Urdu-speaking community. However, everyone there now has NID cards. On hearing this the mayor immediately instructed an official from the birth registration section to issue a birth certificate for Mehedi. He also instructed the official to provide birth certificates to any camp residents who applies for one. After this Mehedi got his birth certificate within a few days.

With his birth certificate Mehedi was able to register for the PSC examination and successfully passed it with GPA 3.92. He is now studying in class six. Both Jabed and Sabera are very happy that Mehedi is able to continue his education. Moreover, realizing the importance of birth certificate, they, too, have got their birth certificates issued as well.