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Solar Powered Resilience

Much of Bangladesh, especially in the northern areas, lie in flood zones. This is a highly populated country and millions, like those in Dhaka, have been greatly affected by flooding. People are still suffering from rising floodwaters that continue to devastate and displace millions of people.

Climate change specialists and scientists predict that much of the country, nearly 20% of it, could completely vanish over the next several decades due to the effects of global warming. The flooding and lack of secure land space has caused the resilient people who live in these areas to acclimate in inventive ways just to carry on with normal daily routines.

One smart example of resourcefulness has led to a creative way to get children to school when land travel is not an option. Or more precisely the school, which is a solar powered boat, actually comes to them when areas are underwater during the wet seasons.

The floating school idea was conceptualized by architect Mohammed Rezwan and in conjunction the service is provided by a nonprofit called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha. Since the majority of the children in water run regions have no access to typical land-based schools when water levels rise, this provision is a treasure to inhabitants.

With solar powered panels atop the cruisers, the inside is transformed into a schoolhouse where children learn as they slowly navigate in the water. The boats are constructed to uphold managing the waters and have windows allowing air circulation and sunlight. Teachers provide free materials and instruction for students up to the fourth grade, six days a week. The interior of the boats have educational resources like connected laptops, libraries and solar lamplights.

Solar lamps are also given to families who have children enrolled in the floating schools so that they can have study lighting at home. Additionally, training is offered to adults who wish to learn about various practical topics. Rezwan’s service helps provide education regarding sustainable farming practices, and introduces knowledge about things like new ways to garden and gather food in a water laden environment.

While most would give up when faced with such force of natural adversity, the solar boats use the obstacle of floodwater in its favor. Using smart means to provide education to children in inaccessible terrain is an ingenious way to instill skillsets that will long benefit those who learn onboard.

For a video glimpse into a solar school boat, watch CNN’s on board observation.

Globe Trekker TV Shows: Bangladesh. 2012. Morris, H., guide. Retrieved from: pilotguides.com
Vinnitskaya, I. December, 2012. Local Solutions: Floating Schools in Bangladesh. Retrieved from: archdaily.com

Image: shidhulai.org

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