These solar-powered floating classrooms ensure access to year-round quality primary education in flood-prone regions of Bangladesh, with content that focuses on climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation.
Each floating school collects students from different riverside villages, ultimately docking at a fixed destination where classes begin on-board. Boats are equipped with a classroom as well as computers with internet access and a library. Additionally, students have access to home solar lanterns to help them do homework in the evenings. The solar-powered lighting on the boats makes the education schedule more flexible, meaning boats can arrange additional educational activities in the evening. Parents and other adults in the communities can also receive education and skills training after school hours.
In total, Shidhulai operates a 54-vessel fleet of floating schools, libraries, health clinics and floating training centres with wireless internet access. They help communities develop a better understanding of climate change and human rights, as well as teach communities more sustainable and resilient farming methods. Their programs serve close to 97,000 people in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh.
Why you should care
Climate change has increased the number and severity of flooding events around the world, affecting over 1.2 billion people between 1992 and 2001. In Bangladesh, a consequence of floods is that children are prevented from attending classes, sometimes for as much as three months a year, making it harder for them to get a good primary education. Shidhulai’s ‘floating school’ model has been replicated in Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam and Zambia, creating transformative impact upon education for communities in flood-prone regions.