Cambodia (Sep '00 -)
   Philippines (Nov '01 -)
   Vietnam (Jan '01 - Dec '10)
   India (Jan '05 - Dec '10)
   Indonesia (Jan '01 -)
   Pakistan (Oct '05 -)
   Timor Leste (Oct '06 -)
   Jordan (Oct '07 -)
   Bangladesh (Dec '07 -)
   Myanmar (Jun '08 -)
   Palestine (Nov '11 -)
   Japan (Sep '97 -)
■Village Kids (2008/04/11)

It’s been only 1 week since I was assigned to this position in Bangladesh and I started managing little by little to see how things work in here. Where I live in Borisal (7 hours drive from the capital Dhaka, including getting on a ferry with the car and floating down a river sloooowly), it is full of “people, people and people” “rickshaw, rickshaw and rickshaw” all around the town. Apparently, Bangladesh itself is like “peoplepeoplepeople”…, it can’t be helped though, as such a small landmass accommodates a population bigger than that of Japan… Today, I visited a children’s activity centre in Shehangal Village, one of the villages we support. For our project in Bangladesh, we provide five villages with educational support, and our activities are based in a tiny sub-district called Nesarabad which is located 1+ hour drive from Borisal and which I assume very few people have heard of.

The number of pupils at this children’s activity centre in Shehangal Village is 130! They are divided into two classes, and one is taught in the morning while the other is taught in the afternoon. We borrow the school classroom when it’s unoccupied and use it to support kids who are unable to attend school. 65 children, the half of the aforementioned total 130 pupils, were sitting densely in a small-ish classroom.

As project staff and I entered the room, the kids welcomed us with a big applause and cheerful voice of something like “Welcome!”.

There were two teachers, one of them was from a different village who was doing a teaching demonstration and the other was local. Pupils were attending the lesson with their “English”, “Bengali and Poetry” and “Math” text books and “Notebook”. The notebooks had traces of their hard work and I felt the children’s eagerness for learning. It was a hearty class; teachers said English words such as “Apple”, “Ball” or “Cat” and kids followed. The kids sang whilst clapping their hands and the teachers drew pictures to help them remember words. It made me think about letting children enjoy learning without boring them.

I introduced myself at the end of the lesson and drew maps of Japan and Bangladesh.

The following day was Lakshmankati Village. There are a lot of Hindu residents living there. The majority of Bangladesh population is Muslim but depending on the location, there are some areas where the majority of the residents are follower of other religions. By the time I arrived, class had already finished but I managed to spend sometime with the children left in there. When I sharpened a broken pencil tip for one of the boys’ by scratching it onto a wall, he was very pleased, and I felt that having contact with children who were pleased by simple things like this taught me something very important.

I pass my days visiting villages like this.

Report: Daisuke Shizuya (Project Coordinator)
Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
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