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Dhaka Tribune

Aloy Aloy Project: Enlightening the tea garden children

  • A total of 5,276 children got the opportunity
  • Project also aims to increase awareness about children’s health
Update : 27 Nov 2023, 04:00 PM

People from different backward ethnic groups live in the lush green area of Moulvibazar. As a tea-dominated town, there are several tea communities throughout the Moulvibazar area. Children in these tea communities have always lagged when it came to education. Recently, the MSEDA 'Aloy Aloy' project has increased the quality of pre-primary and primary education for the children of these helpless, poor tea-worker families. It created an opportunity for the children of tea communities to enlighten their lives with the light of education.

An inspection of the “Shishukanon Prak Shaisab Bikash Kendra" (Shishukanan Pre-Childhood Development Centre) on one side of the Rajghat Cha Bagan Hospital ground under the “Aloy Aloy'' project demonstrates that the situation has changed a lot. Now the children of the Rajaghat tea estate go to school on time. They are learning. Not only the Rajaghat tea estate, but a total of 5,276 children from Sreemangal and Kamalganj upazilas and the Haor area got the opportunity to study at the pre-primary level free of charge under 130 ECD (Early Childhood Development) Centres. There are 11 daycare centres in this area. A total of 318 children aged 2–3 are there.

From 2019 to the current 2023, private development organisations Breaking the Silence, Idea, MSEDA, and Prochesta implemented the “Aloy Aloy” project in 30 tea estates in Sreemangal and Kamalganj and two Haor areas with the funding of ChildFund Korea and EDUCO. The project has been implemented in the tea gardens of the remote areas of Kalighat, Ashidron, Rajghat, Mirzapur, Satgaon, Kalapur, Sindurkhan, Madhavpur, Islampur, Alinagar, Kamalganj, and Rahimpur unions.

According to the project source, it offers infrastructure, local teachers, a teacher training program, all materials for child care management, and children's education materials for the children aged 3-5 years old in the labour line of the tea gardens. The management committee and the guardian committee regularly monitor the overall management of the child centres at the garden level. Children's parents have been trained in good parenting sessions, nutrition services, and vegetable cultivation in the home garden through this project. Children are learning with joy.

Children at the ‘Shishukanon Prak Shaisab Bikash Kendra` at Rajaghat Tea Estate, Sreemangal. Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Apart from that, this project is working to increase awareness about health and nourishment among children and their families, as well as reduce children's vulnerability to child rights violations and disasters. They are collecting the relevant resources from the government. Also, they are working to ensure the government by strengthening cooperation and networks with the tea garden authorities at local and national levels.

The project monitors progress by forming a joint team to work with stakeholders such as government authorities, tea garden authorities, and local government institutions like union parishads and tea garden panchayats through meetings, seminars, and youth and Kishori clubs to implement the mission. They provide lessons and arrange sports for the sake of the development of children during this period in the ECD and daycare centres. There are 32 youth and youth clubs in those two upazilas. All the club members participate in quarterly meetings and contribute to the implementation of their annual action plans. The club's youth and youth group members have completed the birth registration process for a total of 2,346 children.

Moreover, 32 Child Protection Committees are conducting eight awareness campaigns on child protection and violence against women. The committee members implemented their action plan by participating in various events at the community level.

Apart from these, the project has provided primary and refresher training for 32 school teachers, supported by the government primary school. In 2022 and 2023, a total of 20,259 children in 32 primary schools were provided with educational materials. A model library has been established at Junglebari Government Primary School. Deep tube wells have been installed in the Satgaon tea garden. Educational materials have been purchased to ensure equity in education in the project area. The requirements of the students were assured in consultation with EDUCO and the Department of Primary Education.

Rajghat Shishukanan Assistant Kahinur Akhtar said: “Children were not interested in education before. After the opening of the ECD centre, we took classes six days a week. Children learn pre-childhood education through sports and rhymes here. Several sports items, including colour paint, paintbrushes, and coloured pencils, made them more interested in education. Children look forward to coming to this beautiful classroom decorated with paintings of flowers, birds, and butterflies. Besides, their parents can safely leave the child and go to work in the tea garden.”

She added: "Earlier, I used to wake up after 8am. Now I wake up early for the kids. Then I start at the school. I call upon all the children and stay with them. My morning goes well, and I feel happy too.”

Deepti Tanti, an assistant at another institution, said the same thing in front of the mandap of the same tea garden. She said: “In addition to all these things, the project takes initiative in ensuring the birth registration of the children of the tea communities. We regularly inform the parents that all the children of Shishukanan should be registered.”

MSEDA Aloy Aloy Project Coordinator Rezaul Karim said: “I have enlightened the children of tea communities with education. This project has ensured the birth registration of 586 students so far this year. They are continuing their studies. We will be able to admit approximately 50% of children in pre-primary until December 31."

He added: “With the cooperation of all our employees, the MSEDA management team, we take pride in the fact that we are going to develop these small buds and illuminate them in the light of education. I think it is a big challenge to make students happy, especially in the underprivileged garden area.”

MSEDA Aloy Aloy Project Officer Farooq Ahmad said: “I am very happy to work on this project. Especially 20 or 25 children who come to the ECD centre. I really like that they are learning in a happy environment by watching pictures, reciting rhymes, telling stories, etc. I think ECD kids are more aware of their movements than other kids. Other children move without fear after enrolling in the pre-primary sector. They also learn through singing songs and reciting poems in a happy atmosphere by watching pictures. They are also taught in a spontaneous and happy atmosphere.”

Moulvibazar District Primary Education Officer Khorshed Alam said: “The Aloy Aloy project is spreading the light of education in the remote areas of tea gardens. Due to this program, children of underprivileged tea workers are playing a leading role in education. especially the children of tea garden workers who are concentrating on their studies. I think that pre-primary education will go further through the Shishukanons created under this project."

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