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Jan 30, 2020

Beyond Survival: Displaced Refugee Children Aspire to Learn

Beyond Survival
Beyond Survival

For the last three years, stateless Rohingya refugees have been focusing on solely the aspect of survival. According to a UNICEF report, more than 900,000 stateless Rohingya refugees living in the camps of the Cox’s Bazar district in southeast Bangladesh have been in shortage of basic nutrition, health care, water, sanitation, hygiene and most importantly, education.

Intervention of a number of UN agencies and international organizations has undeniably upgraded the recovery process of the Rohingya refugees. New infrastructures, toilets, food, water have been ensured for a large part of the population who fled persecution and violence in Myanmar. Yet the root cause of the violence that affected the lives of these refugees remains unresolved. The refugee crisis crosses the second year and it is very well understood that the children and young people are considerably more vulnerable and they both want and need more than just survival. Conditions have not been established that would allow the refugees to return to their homes. As a result, the Rohingya refugees will remain in Bangladesh for the immediate future. The gap in their education will certainly create obstacles for them in future. JAAGO Foundation’s project “Safe Haven for Rohingya Children” is working to provide them a sense of stability and protect them from the suffering of the violence and trafficking they have faced at a very early age.

Infrastructure development for the children

The Rohingya in Myanmar are either confined to camps or live in partially destroyed villages, denied the opportunity for work, formal education, and freedom of movement. Monsoon season is now underway, introducing the threat of cyclones to an already vulnerable population. So authorities in Cox’s Bazar are turning to a new solution to ease the suffering of refugees: infrastructure.

The living conditions were unbearable in the Rohingya camps in the beginning. They lived together in a “mega-camp”consisting of temporary houses, built with materials that were available at the crisis period i.e., bamboo and tarpaulins. The emergency management of the camp rapidly turned it into a highly congested space with no proper facilities such as water or electricity. In the Safe Haven camp, we have been working on constructing a proper classroom and stable environment for the children. During this quarter, we have been able to construct proper classrooms, including white board and library and also install solar panels in the camp in order to receive adequate electric supply.

Evaluating the progress of their knowledge

The Government of Bangladesh does not permit providing regular education curriculum for Rohingya refugee children and without adequate support, children face the prospect of growing up without an education and without the means to process the horrific events they have lived through. In order to improve the level of the education for the Rohingya children, we try to deliver quality English, Mathematics, Burmese, Art and General Knowledge based on the UNICEF recommended curriculum. While concluding the 2019 session we have taken assessments of the children to evaluate their development throughout the year. We have divided the children into 4 different age groups starting from 4 years and above. Compared to the progress of last year, in 2019 they have done much better on average.This explains that not only do children benefit from the daily opportunity of learning; they are also much able to express themselves through writing, drawing and also have the opportunity to enjoy being children.

Doze of Immunization to ensure good health

Cholera is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe watery diarrhea. It takes between 12 hours and five days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water. Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated. 

A multifaceted approach is the key to control cholera, and to reduce deaths. A combination of surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilization, treatment, and oral cholera vaccines are used. Despite the progress and efforts made by humanitarian agencies to improve water and sanitation conditions in Rohingya camps, cholera remains a concern. Oral cholera vaccination is the most effective way to protect such a large section and reduce the risk of disease outbreak. In December 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) declared that more than 6,35,000 Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh host community will be vaccinated against cholera in a month-long campaign. This is the 5th round of cholera vaccination since they arrived in Bangladesh in 2017. With the support by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, World Health Organization, UNICEF the children in our Safe Haven camp also received cholera vaccination to protect them from this acute diarrheal disease. This campaign was monitored by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (iccdr,b) and other partners.

Thank You Note

We are very grateful to the donors of this project as they are not only helping these young minds to germinate, but also paving a way for their better future. Our current activities still require a lot of support and we are on the way to develop the project even better. We have come a long way, but our ambitions are high and we aspire to build capacity of these young migrant children and provide ventilation to them through the power of education and extra-curricular activities. We sincerely request our well-wishers and donors to keep supporting us!  

Infrastructure development for the children
Infrastructure development for the children
Evaluating the progress of their knowledge
Evaluating the progress of their knowledge
Evaluating the progress of their knowledge
Evaluating the progress of their knowledge
Doze of Immunization to ensure good health
Doze of Immunization to ensure good health
Doze of Immunization to ensure good health
Doze of Immunization to ensure good health
Dec 30, 2019

A Wonderful Ending to an Eventful Year

A Wonderful Ending to an Eventful Year
A Wonderful Ending to an Eventful Year

JAAGO Foundation believes quality education is one of the strongest keys to unlock an individual’s mind liberating them from the confinement of ignorance. Focus on quality education holds the most important place for developing countries like Bangladesh where poverty and illiteracy reign over sustainable socio-economic development. To transform Bangladesh’s huge human resources into skilled workforces, providing access to quality education to the underprivileged is imperative and JAAGO Foundation dedicatedly works towards achieving this goal. 

This year our JAAGO Foundation school students participated in the Primary Examination Completion Examination (PECE) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) Examination. In Bangladesh, after the completion of primary education- class 5, students need to take PECE, in order to evaluate what they have learnt in the past years. JSC is also an examination that needs to be taken in class 8 which helps to assess the understanding about the skills and knowledge of the students about a particular subject matter. In November 2019, the first batch of PECE candidates and the third batch of JSC candidates of JAAGO were handed over their admit cards. We are expecting these children to successfully complete their exams with good grades.

Financial Inclusion for All

The World Bank has highlighted the increasing importance of financial inclusion as a key enabler in helping to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. Together with Mutual Trust Bank (MTB) in Bangladesh, JAAGO has introduced a new program called ‘MTB ANKUR’ (translating to MTB Seedlings), allowing students in our JAAGO Rayer Bazar and Banani schools to open their own savings account without the usual required service or maintenance costs. 

‘MTB ANKUR’ will allow our students access to banking and give them a chance to learn about the importance of saving and how it may be used to facilitate everything from long-term goals (such as University) or unexpected emergencies as well as day-to-day living expenses, therefore improving the overall quality of their lives. 

During the launch of the ‘MTB ANKUR’ program, when parents were asked how this opportunity could change their lives, Tarni* was elated, explaining that growing up the way they had she would have never imagined that she would be able to see her daughter grow up to be able to have access to a place such as a bank. As in Bangladesh, the men of the families are often the only ones that have a voice when it concerns how and what money is spent on, ‘MTB ANKUR’ provides a chance for our girls in particular, to gain a little more control over their lives.

‘School of Five’, Letting Kids Thrive

Lifebuoy's renowned ‘School of Five’ program has been implemented into our Banani school. Through the introduction of 5 superhero characters, Unilever’s Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ are encouraging students in schools to wash their hands 5 times a day, to help prevent infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two leading causes of death for children under the age of 5. Since the launch of their program in 2006, Unilever has seen a global 36% reduction in childhood deaths from diarrhoea from 2008-2016, which is equivalent to over 265,000 lives saved. A team from UNILEVER came to our JAAGO Foundation Banani School and taught kids the importance of handwashing through games and storytelling. They also distributed Lifebuoy soap bars among our children. The introduction of the ‘School of Five’ will teach JAAGO students as well as their families the most effective way to wash their hands and the importance of proper sanitation. 

Science and Innovation for a Powerful Perception

In a fast-paced country like Bangladesh, the children need to be aware about the importance of science behind rising environmental crisis, sustainability and other such issues. To combat such arising issues, a four day Science Film Festival (SFF) was organized by Goethe Institute Bangladesh in collaboration with JAAGO Foundation, Children’s Television Foundation of Bangladesh, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, and PASCH-Schools: Partners for the Future, South Point School and College, Oxford International School, Maple Leaf International School and Mastermind International School. 

The main aim of SFF was to acknowledge the youngsters about the different approaches of science and how scientific issues can be solved. Therefore, science communication was highlighted through this platform and science literacy, technological & environmental issues were focused through film and television content. Competitions were held in different categories, and the students of JAAGO participated as well, in which one of the students won the first prize in Science Film Festival Costume Competition. 

The students of JAAGO take great interest in participating in various extracurricular activities and hence, the students presented their respective projects and experiments at the Science Fair, in which they showcased about topics that speaks out to them. In addition, they have also participated in numerous reading, speaking and art competitions. 

Information Center on Nuclear Energy arranged an educational event related to science and nuclear energy where they demonstrated scientific experiments and taught them about nuclear energy. They also distributed souvenirs among the students. The students of class 6 participated in the event. They were very enthusiastic to learn about new experiments of scientific materials.

ICT Division and Norwegian Embassy Visit to JAAGO Schools

In April 2017, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the scheme titled "Digital Island Moheshkhali" that connected the Moheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar to Dhaka. This project was launched to improve the quality of public services through proper utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in a region of the country, where it is difficult to reach.In 2016, the Government of Bangladesh, Korea Telecom and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) jointly started implementing the “Digital Island- Moheshkhali” project at Moheshkhali lsland in Cox's Bazar district. JAAGO joined the project as an implementing partner in April 2017. Recently officials from the ICT Division visited our JAAGO Foundation Rayer Bazar school where they visited the Digital Moheshkhali Project Center. They observed our digital program and its operations. It was a great experience for us and also them to know about our education program 

Diplomatic relations between Norway and Bangladesh have been established in 1972. Since then the Norwegian Embassy has been supporting development works of the country. During the last quarter of the year, the JAAGO Foundation Rayer Bazar School was visited by the deputy head of mission Ms. Kristin Waaeringsaasen of the Norwegian Embassy. In the visit, interactive sessions with the students took place and a cultural program was held where the students performed a drama and recited rhymes followed by an art competition. 

Self Protection for a Safer Future 

Needless to say, we are living in a dangerous time where feeling safe and secure seems like an unlikely state for a person. Women more likely than others are victimized from the heinous crimes that take place. Also, it is important for children of any gender to gain self discipline and control and keep themselves physically active for emergencies and self protection purposes. In order to boost their confidence and in control of any difficult situation, JAAGO conducted a ‘Self Defense Workshop’, in which the children, especially female students were taught proper techniques to defend themselves and make them more self-reliant. 

Thank You Note

JAAGO Foundation started with only 17 students in a single room 12 years back. After all these years when we look back, the achievements seem incredible! With 2019 coming to an end, we just wanted to thank all our donors and sponsors for the generous contributions that have been made to the ‘Free-of-Cost School’ Program. Together we have been able to completely change the lives of 3,500 children living in slums in Bangladesh. We could not be here today if not for your support over the last 12 years! Our endless gratitude to all our supporters!

*All the individuals whose names and identity have been used in the narrative have given us their consent to publish their names and story prior to the writing of this report.   

Financial Inclusion for All
Financial Inclusion for All
'School of Five', Letting Kids Thrive
'School of Five', Letting Kids Thrive
Science and Innovation for a Powerful Perception
Science and Innovation for a Powerful Perception
Science and Innovation for a Powerful Perception
Science and Innovation for a Powerful Perception
ICT Division and Norwegian Embassy Visit
ICT Division and Norwegian Embassy Visit
ICT Division and Norwegian Embassy Visit
ICT Division and Norwegian Embassy Visit
Self Protection for a Safer Future
Self Protection for a Safer Future
Dec 16, 2019

Youth in Rapid Response- Flood in Bangladesh 2019

Youth in Rapid Response
Youth in Rapid Response

Bangladesh is among one of the most densely populated countries in the world as well as one of the most susceptible countries to flood disasters. Bangladesh has one of the world’s most powerful rivers running through it, Branhmaputra. In addition, approximately half of the land area in Bangladesh is at an elevation of less than 8 meters above sea level. This in conjunction with Bangladesh’s heavy monsoon rains and snowmelt from the Himalayas that enter the river at its source, creates terrible flood affecting approximately 7 million people.  

In July, Bangladesh faced massive floods in many districts such as Rangpur, Gaibandha, Mankiganj, Tangil, Bogura, Sylhet and several other districts. The flooding has resulted in many other issues such as inundated crop fields, breached dams, snapped road and rail links, river erosion as well as the evacuation and closure of education institutions. This includes our JAGGO school in Lokkhipur that has recently closed down due to the consequences of river erosion in that area. In addition, thousands of people have been displaced across Bangladesh due to the downpower and flooding.

JAAGO and Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD), a platform for the youth of Bangladesh, have come together to provide emergency relief support in the form of food, medicine, clean water, clothes etc. in order to help families get back on their feet so they are able to be self-sufficient faster.

The people of Tahirpur Upazila and Gongachora live in the inaccessible part of rural Sunamganj and Rangpur, respectively. With the majority of its residents living under the poverty line they were unable to afford the daily necessities, especially when affected by the flood. With the generous support from our GlobalGiving donors and the support provided by Habib Bank, our volunteers were able to provide 800 total families with relief kits in both Sunamganj and Rangpur. Clean water was an essential part of our relief kits as it allowed for us to help an outbreak of several waterborne diseases, such as cholera, as floodwaters plays a role in overflowing sanitation systems and can contaminate water sources. 

We would like to sincerely thank you all for the donations to this project, it was through your generous donations that we were able to make an impact and provide relief to to so many individuals during such a crucial time. Our volunteers have come together to work towards a safer and stronger Bangladesh and we would like to express our deepest appreciation to all our donors for supporting this special cause. 

Relief Distribution Point
Relief Distribution Point
Flood Victim Receiving Relief
Flood Victim Receiving Relief
Volunteers Distributing Relief among Flood Victims
Volunteers Distributing Relief among Flood Victims
 
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