These solar-powered floating classrooms ensure access to year-round quality primary education in flood-prone regions of Bangladesh, with content that focuses on climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation.

Each floating school collects students from different riverside villages, ultimately docking at a fixed destination where classes begin on-board. Boats are equipped with a classroom as well as computers with internet access and a library. Additionally, students have access to home solar lanterns to help them do homework in the evenings. The solar-powered lighting on the boats makes the education schedule more flexible, meaning boats can arrange additional educational activities in the evening. Parents and other adults in the communities can also receive education and skills training after school hours.

If the children cannot come to the school for lack of proper transportation, then the school should go to them.

Mr Mohammed Rezwan – Founder and Executive Director, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.

In total, Shidhulai operates a 54-vessel fleet of floating schools, libraries, health clinics and floating training centres with wireless internet access. They help communities develop a better understanding of climate change and human rights, as well as teach communities more sustainable and resilient farming methods. Their programs serve close to 97,000 people in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh.

Why you should care

Climate change has increased the number and severity of flooding events around the world, affecting over 1.2 billion people between 1992 and 2001. In Bangladesh, a consequence of floods is that children are prevented from attending classes, sometimes for as much as three months a year, making it harder for them to get a good primary education. Shidhulai’s ‘floating school’ model has been replicated in Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam and Zambia, creating transformative impact upon education for communities in flood-prone regions.

How the Global Goals are addressed

No Poverty

Increasing education levels and teaching improved farming methods are both impactful ways to help people and communities out of poverty.

Quality Education

Shidhulai ensures access to quality primary education throughout the year in flood-prone regions, where land-based schools often have to close down for several months a year.

Gender Equality

As girls are expected to perform twice as much housework as their male counterparts, a shorter journeys to the floating schools allow them to take full advantage of their education.

Clean Water and Sanitation

The floating schools collect rainwater during the monsoon and store it in tanks onboard the boats, to be used for drinking water.

Affordable and Clean Energy

Rrecycled kerosene lanterns, creates new solar lanterns allowing scholars and communities access to low-cost, clean and safer lighting.