“Since 2008 the project has operated a pre-school programme which has provided a basic start to over 2000 children, enabling them to get admission into nearby primary schools, and they are found doing very well at primary and high schools now.” This is the comment of the independent reviewer invited by our Bangladesh partners, Baptist Aid-BBCF to look at the Chandpur Village Education Programme.
“Beside pre-school education the 6 centres also arrange tutorial coaching of students attending local primary schools. As the majority of parents have almost no education, they cannot help their children with study at home, so they are very grateful for the tutorial programme.”
These two activities, the preschools and the tutorial programme have been essential parts of the Chandpur programme since it started in 2008 as the TCDC (Total Community Development Centres) project. When changes in NZ Government funding led to cuts in funding for the project one of our priorities was to keep as much of the education focus as possible. The project was cut from 12 centres to 6, and most of the community activities were stopped, but we kept the preschools and the tutorial programme as essential activities.
We do still maintain a level of oversight and support for the savings and microcredit groups that were started under the TCDC project. The review was very positive about these groups, not just for their role in supporting microenterprise village activity, but also for their role in building community health awareness and community cohesion. The report looks at the high percentage of project families that have completed a full immunization programme, and their general awareness of village sanitation and health issues. The review recommends that the project continue support for group activities as part of the programme.
The review in January 2019 did find that class numbers in two of the centres had dropped below sustainable levels due to lower numbers of school age children in the community, and other nearby options for parents to send their children. In discussion with the communities, these two centres have been closed down. However one of the original 12 centres that had earlier been closed has been reopened at the request of the local people. This leaves us with five active centres.
The budget for the Village Education Project is NZD 30000 per year. This comes entirely from New Zealand donations. Can your church/homegroup/family help us give these children a good start to their education? Per child this is a lot cheaper than other child sponsorship schemes!
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