2012 Commitment Award Winner Update

Open-Sky School for Dhaka’s Street Children (OSSDSC)

As per the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics year book 2006, the total number of children living on street is 423,668 in Bangladesh. Among them more than 70% are living in the metropolitan city of Dhaka. These children are in a disadvantageous position as they lack proper family care thereby depriving them of basic rights namely: shelter, education and healthcare. Owing to multi-level deprivation, they failed to get enrolled in the formal education system.

Given the precarious situation, the OSSDSC project is a novel initiative designed by committed student volunteers to provide education to the underprivileged street children of Dhaka city lacking the means and access to formal education. The project seeks to provide pre-primary education and life-surviving skills to the underprivileged children living on the street in Dhaka city. Open-sky schooling is an innovative and cost-effective method for the street children who do not have proper shelter, family and cannot afford the cost of formal education. Secondly, the project will introduce a “micro-savings” plan among the students that will enable them to receive an amount of money at the end of their graduation. The graduated children will utilize their savings as their first investment for future income-generating activities.

The initial phase is to set up an open-sky school structure with a curriculum for both the students and volunteers. The project aims to enroll about 200 street children and plans to provide them education in the two years of 2013-2014. The project will take place in three different places of Dhaka city, where there is one of the largest concentrations of street children in the world. Finally, the project will engage undergraduate volunteers from the local universities as intern teaching faculties.

After two years of implementation, the project plans to extend the schooling project to other regions. Implementation of the project will be in collaboration with Ekmattra, a local NGO for underprivileged children in Bangladesh, by using its infrastructure along with the assistance of its volunteers.

– Marufa Akter