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Children performing in Ganer Pakhi . March 2009 . Anandapath Cultural Festival . Tangail

†e½j wkÿv Kvh©µg Bengal Education Programme The Bengal Education Programme was launched with the pledge to promote ways of using the creative arts as a learning tool. The scheme includes Creative Learning Programme Srijanshil ( Shikkhakata Karjakram) and Pathshala Functional Literacy Programme for imparting education, capacity building, creating awareness and appreciation of the arts among teachers, students and educators. These programmes are designed to seek new ways of interpreting mainstream cultural practice, looking at ways of applying the tools of performing arts, creating positive change in self-expression, enhancing personal achievement and community bonding.

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m„Rbkxj wkÿKZv Kvh©µg Creative Learning Programme

Training class. Jul 2008 . Anandapath . Tangail

Of all the performing arts, theatre, because of its sensory and visual appeal, immediately inspires, stimulates and engages the senses. The instantaneous response it evokes allows a two-way participation that is useful in establishing a primary connection between the performer and the audience. Children, armed with an elastic imagination and an innate ability to imitate, find it easier to connect to the impersonation and make-believe aspects of play acting. The major component of the Creative Learning Programme has to do with using the tools of theatre to shape a sense of the self. The ability to perform in front of an audience is often a major hurdle. By acquainting children with the basics of posture, speech and dialogue, it is possible to instill confidence. The intense teamwork required to put together even the simplest show, is a good exercise in learning to share, connect with and respect others. The movements required in a perfor mance makes a child aware of her or his physicality and helps to shed inhibitions. Learning how to express oneself in public, boosts morale and self-confidence--both necessary to develop a strong personality. When teachers are included in the theatre training programme they participate in live interactions such as ‘role playing’ with students. Interaction outside the sphere of strict formal requirement allows children to emerge from their shells and teachers to become their mentors.

Class with resource person Anisul Haque Borun Aug 2009 . Anandapath . Tangail

The programme was first launched in the Anandapath Primary School in Tangail, Bangladesh, in July 2008. Anandapath was chosen for its alternative approach to education with particular emphasis on the arts. The teachers of Anan dapath were given 120 hours of extensive training on differ ent aspects of theatre such as acting, choreography and writing. After the first six months improvements were perceived in teacher-student communication, children’s ability to express themselves and quality of day to day performance in school. The first play, evolving from the programme, was presented at the Children’s Cultural Festi val held in Tangail in 2009. Apart from teaching children, two 7-day workshops involving 50 theatre performers in each session, have been held in Chittagong, in 2010 and 2011, in collaboration with Atelier.

Class with resource person Dr. Khondokar Tazmi Noor Aug 2008 . Anandapath . Tangail

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The Cultural Responsiveness (CRP) part of the programme is aimed at encouraging practice and appreciation of the arts, with suitability for displaced and isolated communities. Many areas in Bangladesh, particularly the char (river shoals) regions are peopled with communi ties that have been uprooted from their original homes. The unpredict able shift of rivers often force people to take refuge in newly formed chars. These displaced, isolated, diverse and in many ways desensi tized communities need to reorient themselves culturally to establish identity and find their roots. The CRP unit works with teaching centres operating in such shifting communities. A pilot programme has been carried out with the char dwellers of Gaibandha and Rangpur in collaboration with Friendship, a leading NGO that dispenses health care and primary education in the region. In the northern char areas where communities are isolated from the mainland and life is an Kuril Pathshala . 1999-2000 incessant struggle between poverty and uncertainty, CRP seeks to engage people in community cultural practices. The center of these cultural practices are the primary schools in the chars. The programme provides for organising small scale festivals and melas involving immediate and nearby communities. These informal events energise the community and encourage bonding. Carried out over a period of time, these events could form a tradition that would strengthen their sense of belonging and rootedness. With appropriate partnership the reach of this program could be extended to include other char areas in Bangla desh. The CRP unit supports smaller organisations which do similar work. It assists S M Sultan Children's Arts and Crafts Foundation to run an art and drama school in Narail which accommodates 600 children, mostly from the Santal adivasi community. The unit has developed a special training module for teachers to help the adivasi community to revive traditional forms of dance and vernacular theatre, and teach it to their children.

Kuril Pathshala . 1999-2000

cvVkvjv Functional Literacy Program The Pathshala Functional Literacy Programme has set up teach ing centres for delivering primary and functional education in poor urban neighbourhoods. A pilot project was taken up in 1999 in which 10 primary education centres were set up in Kuril, an urban slum in the heart of Dhaka. After 16 months of operation the education centres including infrastructure, books and logistics, were handed over to the local community. The centres were able to provide primary education to 300 students at any one time, and were successful in bringing the majority of children between the ages of 6 to 11 under the coverage of this programme. Pathshala created a special curriculum for the programme.

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Kuril Pathshala . 1999-2000

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Sultan Utsab . Aug 2009 . Narail

S M Sultan Children’s Art and Crafts School . Narail

Theatre workshop S M Sultan Children’s Art and Crafts School . Jun 2010 . Narail

Panting competition . Sultan Mela . Oct 2007 . Narail

Boat ride and painting competition . Sultan Mela . Oct 2009 . Narail

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Trainer Anisul Haque Borun with Adivasi children SM Sultan Children’s Arts and Crafts Foundation . Nov 2010 . Narail

From left, trainers Shiuly Akhter and Anisul Haque Borun, and facilitator Sarah Ahsan, with members of the transgender group Samparker Noya Shetu Jun 2011 . Bengal Shilpalaya

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Trainer Shiuly Akhtar with Adivasi children at SM Sultan Children’s Arts and Crafts Foundation Nov 2010 . Narail

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Bengal Foundation, Volume - 1 ( EDUCATION )  

Education Part

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