Dhaka: The dream of 10-year-old Tasfia Sultana to sit for the primary school examination from a non-formal school in Cox’s Bazar was about to be shattered after a nor’wester blew over her area in March last.
Mohseniapara Shikhon School was built in a disaster-prone area of PM Khali Union in Cox’s Bazar Sadar in 2013. It was completely destroyed by a mild storm on March 22 last, forcing the future of Tasfia Sultana and 33 other disadvantaged children in trouble. UNB News Agency Reported.
However, the local community rebuilt the school and brought the dreams of these underprivileged children back on track. This time, the school children applied some techniques they were taught under the ‘Learning resilience: Institutionalising school disaster management (SDM) in the education sector in Bangladesh DIPECHO VIII’.
“The community people, guardians, students were all stunned with the incident. I tried to continue their study in my own yard with the students, but scorching heat of summer under the open sky didn’t allow them to continue,” school teacher Monowara Begum told UNB.
Facing such a situation, she said, members of the school management committee collected donation from the community and rebuilt the school at a cost of Tk 10,000, making it a disaster-resilient one.
The school children have applied the knowledge they gained from the disaster preparedness programme of DIPECHO – a programme supported by the EU’s humanitarian aid and civil protection operations – to cope with the cyclone and storm. Save the Children has been working with the government to implement the programme.
These school children are now working as ambassadors of disaster preparedness in their localities. They disseminate the knowledge they gained from the school among their family members and community people as well.
“We’ve learned a lot about what should be done before and after a cyclone. And we all disseminate the lesson of disaster preparedness we learned,” said Tasfia Sultana.
Explaining the meaning of red flags that have been shown before a cyclone, she said when a red flag is hoisted, the information will have to be disseminated that a cyclone is coming.
“When two red flags are hoisted, there’ll be a danger signal where all should take shelters in their homes. And when three red flags are lifted, there’ll be an extremely danger signal and all should take shelter in cyclone centres or other safe places,” said Tasfia.
Even, the school children applied their disaster preparedness knowledge before the tropical cyclone Roanu that hit Cox’s Bazar on May 21, 2016, and they contributed to minimising the losses on the aftermath of the natural disaster.
“When we heard that Roanu is coming, we ran around the village and asked the villagers to take shelters at cyclone centres,” said Shahabuddin, a primary school drop-out who later joined the Mohseniapara Shikhon School.
Dr Abul Kalam, a community leader, said the role of the school children in disaster preparedness is commendable as they are contributing to minimise disaster aftermath.
Around 6,000 children are now well informed about cyclone as they learned lessons under the school disaster management (SDM) programme, said DIPECHO technical officer Md Helal Uddin.