Hei Verden- 2022
Hei Verden is the schools' own solidarity action and for almost 50 years we have worked for solidarity between children across national borders. We support education projects in Laos, Bangladesh, Zambia and Peru, and work to develop attitudes of solidarity among students in Norwegian schools.
Hei Verden is the schools' own solidarity action and for almost 50 years we have worked for solidarity between children across national borders. We support education projects in Laos, Bangladesh, Zambia and Peru, and work to develop attitudes of solidarity among students in Norwegian schools. The world is now facing an education crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. Due to increased poverty, and the fact that millions of children have had their education interrupted as a result of covid-19, a whole generation is in danger of dropping out of school.
The Children of the Earth prize will go to our work in Bangladesh, where we collaborate with the local organization Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO) to run 3 homework help centers and 3 language centers where indigenous students are helped with their school work by teachers who speak the same language as them. Teaching in Bangladesh takes place only in Bengali, and children with a different mother tongue often drop out of school early and few complete schooling. When they get help with their schoolwork in their own mother tongue, students learn much more at school, and more complete their schooling.
We also work to further train the teachers, develop bilingual teaching resources, and distribute teaching materials to around 300 pupils from poor families. For these families the cost of the teaching materials is so high that many had had to take their children out of school because they cannot afford to cover this themselves. In addition, this year we have extra high costs to cover water, soap, face masks and hand sanitizer at our homework help centres. This is essential for the children to receive education, but also a cost that is too high for many families. That is why we offer this to all our students.
Most of the indigenous and minority groups in Bangladesh live in poverty and are discriminated against in their own country. They have major problems getting paid work and many are denied citizenship and the right to own their own land. Because many do not understand Bengali, they are unable to follow the lessons at school. Therefore, many drop out of school before they have finished primary school. Without education, it is difficult for these children to get out of the vicious spiral of poverty.
Poverty has increased sharply in Bangladesh during the pandemic, and schools were closed for 18 months (from March 2020 to September 2021). As many as 7 out of 10 children did not have access to distance learning while schools were closed. It is now critical that we follow up the children in our project areas, as they are already very vulnerable. Nationally, the proportion of children who have now dropped out of school is sky high, but all pupils in our project areas are still at school. We are very proud of this, and it shows that our work is useful!