A member of the Children's Parliaments in India, interviewing another child for the survey.
World Children’s Day is recognised each year on 20th November. It is an opportunity to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights and marks the day when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This is a promise made 30 years ago by governments across the world to do everything in their power to protect and promote children’s rights to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential.
In all of our projects around the world we work in partnership with local organisations and people from the communities to help create safe, child friendly environments where children can realise their rights and restore the ingredients of a full childhood by generating hope, life, colour and fun.
In the Kutupalong camps where we work in partnership with local organisation Mukti Cox’s Bazar to provide education for 7,500 Rohingya children. We spoke to 28 year old Project Officer, Somorjit Das Raju who is part of the Mukti team, to find out more about his career and his highlights working with children in the Learning Centres.
Children on the Edge and Mukti are pioneering digital learning to overcome language barriers and deliver meaningful education for 7,500 Rohingya refugee children in the Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh; winning them this year’s education prize at the 2020 Tech4Good Awards.
Over a million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar in regular waves of displacement since the early 1990s. Genocidal attacks in August 2017 drove more than 742,000 people to seek refuge in Bangladesh, over half of which were children.
Children on the Edge has been ensuring access for Rohingya refugee children in the Kutupalong camp since 2009, originally creating low-profile schools to enable learning for thousands who were cut off from services. Whilst the Bangladesh government currently allows education in the camp, children are not permitted to learn in Bangla and there is no universally recognised script for the Rohingya language. This means that the workbook based education generally on offer is severely limited.
To tackle this problem, Children on the Edge provided 75 smartphones and battery powered projectors to their schools in the camps. Their digital team translated or dubbed existing digital educational content into the Rohingya dialect. This is now regularly sent via WhatsApp to teachers’ smartphones, which slot into the battery-powered projectors in the classrooms.
After the initial pilot, child after child expressed joy and disbelief to be able to finally understand the lessons being presented. 1.5 hours of digital lessons are now delivered twice a day across all classrooms in the camps and their sister schools in the Cox’s Bazar communities.
In this year’s AbilityNet Tech4Good awards, this digital innovation was chosen for the Lenovo education award, recognising outstanding digital achievement in education. In its 10th year, Tech4Good judges reported a record breaking 400 entries with Mark Walker, AbilityNet’s Head of Marketing and Communications saying “Our tenth year has seen more entries than ever, with hundreds of amazing examples of how tech can help to make the world a better place”.
Rich Henderson, Director of Global Education Solutions at Lenovo said
Programme staff report that the initiative is enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response from children and teachers alike. Interviews with students have already shown how digital learning and digital video production is inspiring children and giving them fresh confidence that they will be able to compete in the job market of a globalised world.
Henderson goes on to say “Learning about the transformative work of Children on the Edge was uplifting, especially given the current tech and education divide. The organisation’s efforts should propel all other individuals and organisations in the tech space to follow suit by putting digital tech to good use”.
Rohingya refugee children have also gone on to use the technology to have their voices heard and to interact outside the camps and slums. Through their own online platform named Moja kids, they have recorded dozens of ‘green screen’ and outdoor news videos, which have been shared back and forth between camp and community schools.
“Seeing themselves on screen was literally jaw dropping and
The aim is that this platform will become a global online community with no other agenda than for children to be able express their ideas and talents, connecting and communicating beyond the confines of their challenging surroundings.
As the result of a recent Crowdfunder, simple tech equipment is already being sourced for three thriving Child Rights Clubs supported by Children on the Edge in Uganda, so they can connect with children in Bangladesh and be the next set of voices to share their thoughts and experiences as part of Moja Kids.
2020 has been a year like no other. The global pandemic has created universal challenges to accessing education that millions have never faced before and the traditional model of teaching in a classroom environment has had to quickly adapt to the new normal.
Our digital programme in Bangladesh has helped transform the way Rohingya children learn in the Kutupalong refugee camp and the slums in Cox’s Bazar. Digital education content is projected in each classroom, tackling language barriers and helping to bring learning alive.
When we think of distance learning during lockdown, the images that often spring to mind are interactive whiteboards, back-to-back digital lessons and a variety of personalised online programmes. In the situations where we work, there are many distinctive barriers to simply protecting and connecting with children during lockdown, let alone delivering effective learning opportunities, but our partners are rising to the challenge.
Narul is seven years old and lives in the Doharazi Rohingya Enclaves in Bangladesh. When he was a toddler, whilst his mother was working outside he tripped onto a red-hot stove, badly burning his foot and his hand. To this day he cannot walk properly and one of his fingers is badly damaged. When he was four, his father left the family with no income so his mother had to do manual labour each day just to feed Narul, but could not send him to school.
In the largest refugee camp in the world, Children on the Edge are pioneering digital learning to deliver meaningful education for our 7,500 students in the refugee camps. Beyond this, the children work together to create and share their own fun packed videos using a digital platform called ‘Moja Kids’.