Dhaka is a the capital of Bangladesh. It is also world’s most heavily populated city. It has more than 5,000 slums inhabited by an estimated four million people.
For children and families living in slum areas life is extremely difficult. Overcrowding and poor sanitation means children are more susceptible to severe illnesses. Raising awareness about the importance of good hygiene – like hand-washing – can support children’s long-term health and wellbeing.
Learning Through Laughter
Clowns Without Borders UK’s MAKE WASH FUN does just that. The joyful programme shares critical message about hygiene. Developed over three years with Rohingya children in refugee camps in Cox Bazar, it is will be shared with a thousand children in the slums of Dhaka. The magic ingredient? Play.
Play helps children learn about themselves, each other and the world. It strengthens their bodies and their brains. It opens children up to new experiences and provides fertile ground for developing new skills. It’s the best and most exciting way to learn. Our friends in Cox Bazar talk about the impact.
“We are teaching through real-life scenarios, by playing games and using drama to deliver important lessons on health and hygiene in a way that children understand. It’s called ‘learning through laughter’. When children enjoy learning, they are far more likely to remember lessons and adopt good hygiene practices,” says Maksuda Sultana, Technical Manager for Hygiene Promotion with UNICEF partner CARE.
Children Tested and Approved
MAKE WASH FUN puts children at the heart of their own learning. They are the experts in songs, stories and games. They are also creative and competent individuals who can adapt their own games to include key messages. By supporting children to do this we can also support their right to participation and play. It shows that learning never has to be boring.
These are just a few of the games they helped to invent. They’ve been shared with thousand of children in refugee camps in Cox Bazar.
Children Leading the Way
Playing zombies and chase might not sound like work but that is why it is so powerful. Play builds motivation and engagement in learning. It makes it fun. It is brilliant way to provide children with information that might save their lives. The best bit of all, children love to share what they learn. Games, like Gu Chase, are played amongst friends and this raises awareness amongst other children. Children themselves become active participants in spreading vital messages about how to stay safe. It’s the first step in creating long-term behaviour change.
We can not wait to meet and learn from the children in Dhaka.