When Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan was young, he found the monsoon floods in his Bangladeshi community very frustrating as it prevented him from travelling to school. Due to the lack of proper transportation in riverside communities, the residents there did not have access to latest information and learning opportunities.
This problem kept on circulating in Rezwan’s mind, and in 2002 he found an innovative solution for it. Through Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, which is the Bangladeshi non-profit organization Mohammed Rezwan established in 1998, Rezwan introduced the solar-powered floating schools in north-western Bangladesh’s flood prone region of Chalan Beel.
The simple but highly effective solution involved equipping boats with books and computers powered with solar energy. This furnished boat is then used as a teaching space for village students. The boat is also used as a means to transport students to and from their homes.
Furthermore, the floating school serves multiple purposes. Along with educating young students, the floating school provides villagers information on sustainable agriculture, healthcare, human rights, affordable technologies like the bicycle pumps and solar lamps, and climate change.
Mohammed Rezwan’s initiative has impacted the lives of 70,000 children and has been recognized worldwide. From being awarded the Citizen Based Initiative Award of Ashoka Innovator for the Public in 2002, to being noted as Social Entrepreneur of the Global Philanthropy Forum 2006 (US), Rezwan’s floating school project has been praised for its uniqueness and impact. Last week, the Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha project was given a 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education award in Qatar, which is awarded to projects for their tangible, positive impact on society and innovative approach to solving important global problems.
Photo from Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.
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