An exceptional case of grandparent’s engagement in literacy initiative has been found in Kurigram district. Accompanying two grandsons who study in grade I and II, 80 years old Haawa Begum comes to Bhogdanga Community Reading Camp located in Sadar Upazila, Kurigram. Because of her sincere commitment to promote Community Reading Camps and the joy of reading, grandmother Haawa Begum has become an icon in her locality.
It is an unfortunate matter that due to the negative effects of urbanization and lack of morality, many grandparents are considered as a burden to their families. Not only many grandparents’ opinion is ignored, but also we made them lonelier by disconnecting them from social activities. Due to their age, we consider elderly people incapable of contributing to the society. But there are elders who are showing us that their age, experience, and wisdom has a lot to offer. Haawa Begum is like one of them.
When grandmother Haawa Begum was asked why she promotes Community Reading Camps, she said, “When I was young, I used to teach Bangla to my son by using various games, songs and rhymes. I always wondered why these innovative methods of learning are not part of primary education. When I first heard about Community Reading Camp in January 2017, I was very happy that finally children will be able to learn with joy.”
Community Reading Camp is an initiative by USAID’s Reading Enhancement for Advancing Development (READ) project, implemented by Save the Children in Bangladesh.
Community Reading Camp in Bangladesh by READ
Community Reading Camp is an open place outside schools, where children of grade I-III can engage themselves in enjoyable and innovative learning activities to improve their Bangla reading skills. It is basically an intervention for children struggling to learn how to read and write in Bangla and perform in their classes. Across the country, 120,000 children are having access to 1360 Community Reading Camps in 34 upazila of 13 districts, and these reading camps are helping these early graders to have a better academic start.
Haawa Begum was studying in grade VIII in Rangpur city when she got married. After that, she moved in to Kurigram and did not continue her study. Now, at the age of 80, she lives with his son, daughter in law and two grandchildren. Not only she helps her grandchildren to absorb Community Reading Camp’s learnings, but also assists the Community Literacy Volunteers to conduct sessions. Haawa Begum’s contribution to the reading camp is highly recognized by the local primary school teachers as well.
“I am too old to do house hold chores. Rather I utilize my time by thinking about my grandsons’ future and visiting primary schools around Bhogdanga village. I try to maintain a good relationship with local teachers, and attend parents-teachers’ meeting regularly”, Haawa Begum said.