''If the children cannot come to the school for lack of transportation, then the school should come to them, by boat''
Imagine living in a country where attending school was near impossible due to climate challenges. This is a common reality in Bangladesh, with extreme flooding regularly putting a halt to normality for many. It is a problem Mohammed Rezwan recalls clearly from his childhood. Mohammed’s family however, owned a boat, which meant he could still attend school on a regular basis, non-dependent of extreme weather hitting the Northwest region where his family lived. His friends however, weren’t quite so fortunate, often cut-off from school for several months at a time if a flood hit.
Mohammed is now the founder and executive director of non-profit organisation Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a company that has taken this problem and found a sustainable and desperately-needed solution… floating classrooms!
Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2005, the Shidhulai organisation really took off, expanding substantially with a fleet of school boats in Bangladesh. The grant also allowed for new computers, the installation of solar power, and a new library for study.
There are now 20 floating schools in operation, reaching almost 70,000 children.
But these school boats are supporting more than education in Bangladesh – they are also acting as floating clinics for paramedics and doctors when needed too.
- Find out more about Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.