3 November 2015
Everyone loves a day off school. But for many children in Bangladesh, rising water and increasing storms mean that getting to school is just too dangerous. During the monsoon season, rivers can be up to 12 feet higher. That’s almost as tall as a double decker bus. ActionAid spoke with nine-year-old Shumona, who never gets to go to school.
Shumona’s face lights up when her grandma is around. The pair share a special bond and love spending time together. Three years ago, Shumona’s house was destroyed by floods and she had to leave her village. Luckily her beloved grandma came with her. The family moved to the only space available. They now live on a crumbling patch of land, in a rickety hut beside a huge, gushing river.
Shumona’s studies stopped
Shumona is nine years old and wants to go to school. But this would mean crossing the river’s choppy waters and Shumona’s mum, Aasma, says the journey is too risky.“I would like to send my children to school but there is too much water here,” Aasma said.
Shumona agrees, and although she enjoys playing with friends from neighbouring huts, she preferred life back in the village where there was less water and she could safely go to school: “I liked school,” she said. “I liked studying.”
Bangladesh and climate change
Bangladesh is among the countries most at risk from climate change. Scientists have warned that floods, droughts and big storms called cyclones will continue to get worse. What will this mean for children such as Shumona who love school, but can’t go because it’s no longer safe for them to leave the house?
ActionAid is building safe spaces for children in Bangladesh to give them a place to study when getting to school becomes too dangerous. We also teach children and their parents about how to stay safe during floods and storms, for example flood drills, so everyone knows what to do and where to go.
For now, Shumona remains out of school, although she is determined to go back. Her mother, Aasma, knows how education could help her family. "If my daughter could go to school she’d be an educated person,” she said. “If Shumona could get a good job, then that would help me, and her.”
To learn more of Shumona's story as well as the stories of three other remarkable Bangladeshi children, take a look at our newest resources for schools: "Living in a world of water: flooding and climate change in Bangladesh.”