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.
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’.
Raiyan is 10 years old and a student in a school supported by Children on the Edge in the Rohingya Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. He has learnt a lot since starting school and is now working at level 2. He concentrates hard in his lessons and is naturally very creative. When his teacher tells a story or describes something that has happened to the class, Raiyan immediately starts imagining it.
We talk to four teachers working in Kutupalong refugee camp about how they tackle three of the hardest teaching challenges. Meet Tajina, Toslina, Panua Dey and Sanjil.
Through both printed and digital child- led publications, Children on the Edge are working to ensure Rohingya refugee children have a voice.
“Nobody knows about us” has been a frequent remark coming from discussions with many of the 7,500 children we support in the Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh.
On the 20th June each year, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. Around the world more than 50 million people have fled their homes, and over half of these are children.
The refugee children we work with in Lebanon, Bangladesh and Myanmar all show great strength, courage and resilience every day, surviving in some of the toughest places around the world. On World Refugee Day 2019, we wanted to take the time to share some of their thoughts and experiences.
After gaining over eight years experience in providing education for Rohingya children in mixed-population slum areas and fully-Rohingya refugee communities, we have established 10 classrooms for a new and growing group of vulnerable Rohingya children, living in ‘enclave communities’ inland from the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
Over 18 months since the start of the Rohingya refugee crisis, despite the wealth of agencies investing in education for children in Kutupalong, only about 45% of refugee children currently have access to education in the camps.
Navigating the multiple layers of bureaucracy and negotiating building space in the densely populated camp has made provision a huge challenge, and as the crisis has become protracted, the promised formal curriculum for refugee children was postponed by the government for over a year.
Despite these obstacles, Children on the Edge have successfully established 75 Learning Centres which have all been running five days a week since June 2018, providing education for 7,500 children.
150 Bangladesh and Rohingya teachers are fully trained and running classes each day. They have been trained on communication, child rights, health, hygiene, first aid, identifying trauma, classroom management and how to make learning engaging.