In Bangladesh, the Rohingya refugee children we support in Kutupalong refugee camp and children living in the slums and enclaves of Cox’s Bazar work together to create their own fun-packed videos using our digital platform - Moja Kids. Read about how this simple technology is increasing confidence amongst the children and making lessons exciting.
In Bangladesh, just over 9000 children across Kutupalong (the world's largest refugee camp) and amongst the slums of Cox's Bazar and the Doharazi Enclaves access education through 34 community schools and 75 learning centres. They are supported by 185 trained teachers, many refugees themselves.
'Moja Kids' is the children's online 'newsletter' where staff support the children to create videos each week which are then shared across hundreds of classrooms in Bangladesh.
These video newsletters are not only a chance for the children to express their thoughts, showcase their talents and share their experiences, but also a means to connect and interact with peers beyond the confines of the refugee camp and the slum communities where they live. They have helped to boost the children's confidence enormously and many children who were shy, are now excited to take part.
When they produced their 30th video newsletter in June 2022, 'Moja Kids' celebrated with a fresh colourful look to their video productions and an uplifting new soundtrack. Weekly productions have expanded beyond the usual displays of arts, crafts, songs and games, to include many more in-depth life stories from the children, and interviews with teachers and camp block leaders (Majhis).
Our Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Rebeka Katum said, “Seeing Ramida's life story on Moja Kids 6 inspired the children to be more frank in sharing their stories. We have now been working on collecting and creating newsletters that talk more about their daily lives and experiences”.
Children from the Child Councils we support in Kutupalong have reported that children ‘used to be embarrassed to perform for Moja Kids, but now everyone is interested’.
“The video newsletter features stories, rhymes, and biographies of children like us. Moja Kids videos show us what children do in other countries. It's really interesting. Sometimes when I see someone like me talking in these videos then I feel good”.
All the children we interviewed in the past few months mentioned the digital projector lessons or Moja Kids newsletter as one of their favourite things about school. Most children mentioned both!
In the Doharazi Enclave Community Schools, children call the projector screen the "TV" and tell us that they come to school mainly to see the "TV". If the teacher asks them who would like to participate, everyone’s hands go up.
Zobaida Akhter, one of the teachers describes how, “Moja Kids helps the children have fun as well as show their hidden talents. These talents would never be revealed without Moja Kids. As a result, students have become interested in various creative activities. When they see their work on the projector screen, I am amazed to see their bright eyes and how happy they are. There is now a competition among students to participate!"
In the slum communities of Cox’s Bazar, the story is the same, and every child feels proud to participate, constantly coming to the teachers and Child Councils with new ideas, and practising at home.
There is a roster so we can make sure every child gets to participate, and although many children felt shy to perform a few months ago, they have been inspired by seeing other classmates talking in front of the camera and Child Councils are working to identify and encourage new presenters.
Child participation is one of our core values. We believe that all children should feel free to express themselves and have opportunities to safely chatter, play, dance, paint, and create. They should have the opportunity to discover who they are, decide who they want to be, and to grow into vibrant, animated, unhindered individuals able to speak for themselves and be heard.
50% of children in our latest random interview sample have already been involved in the video newsletters so far, and 100% of those interviewed want to be, this is a huge increase from our December 2021 interviews, where 4% of children had been involved and 88% wanted to be.
Moja Kids newsletters and the wider digital lessons are making a huge difference to the lives of the children we support in Bangladesh. They are helping the children to participate, learn, have fun and thrive, as well as boosting confidence and allowing them to connect with each other and share their stories.