Since August 2017, over 656,000 members of the Rohingya community in Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence. The number of Rohingya in refugee camps has exceeded the total population of the host communities. They are living in highly crowded conditions and are faced with innumerable challenges.
A big part of the population in camps - more than 500,000 - are children. Teach the World Foundation has launched a digital learning program in a massive refugee camp located in Kutupalong. As of October 2018, 90 children are engaged through interactive educational activities. Facilitators from the refugee community and from the host community have been trained by TTWF. As learning gains through digital programs are significantly greater than with traditional programs, it has enabled us to shorten school timings to 2 hours per day and thus accommodate larger numbers of refugee children who need education. The program is running in 3 shifts and spans 2-hours per shift. This further endorses the effectiveness of games in enhancing learning and engagement of children. Curriculum comprises English, Mathematics, and Burmese (Rohingya root language). Since the children have been through a lot of trauma from displacement and atrocities they have witnessed, Social/Emotional Learning (SEL), as prescribed by UNICEF, has also been introduced in the digital model. TTWF plans to use this for teaching values in other depressed areas as well.
Since the 1971 civil war between East and West Pakistan that gave rise to the independent nation of Bangladesh, 300,000 stranded Pakistanis have survived as a forgotten population in refugee camps around the country. Even 45 years after the end of the war, these families still live in harsh conditions in slums and makeshift camps. Half are children under the age of 15. Less than 10% of these children have the opportunity to gain an education and move out of poverty. Many of the older children have to work in menial jobs, in order to help their families.
OBAT is on the ground at multiple refugee camps in Bangladesh, providing medical clinics, micro-lending programs, schools and job-training opportunities.