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Weathering Climate Change with Resilient Classrooms Solution by: Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha

These solar-powered floating classrooms ensure access to year-round quality primary education in flood-prone regions of Bangladesh while also providing training for climate change adaptation. The Triple Bottom Line

Environmental The project recycles used traditional kerosene lanterns, creating new solar lantern casings while old boats are turned into new classrooms.

Social Girls and young women are taking full advantage of the education being delivered to their doorsteps, which has allayed the concerns of their parents and guardians. 3

Economic According to a study, the solution has helped landless people to increase their income and escape poverty. 4

Each floating school collects students from different riverside villages, ultimately docking at the last destination where classes begin on-board. Boats are equipped with a classroom along with Internet access and a library. Additionally, students take home solar lanterns as rewards for good performance, while parents and other adults receive training through the same model. Solar lighting makes the schedule flexible, meaning boats can arrange educational programs in the evening. After training and switching to flood-resistant crops, farmers are more likely to achieve year-round food supply and income. The solution has also introduced a business model whereby solar lanterns can be rented for a fee. Why a Sustainia100 solution? Climate change has increased flooding, affecting over 1.2 billion people between 1992 and 2001. 1 One consequence of floods is that children are prevented from attending classes, making it harder for them to escape poverty. Shidhulai’s “floating school” model has been replicated in Nigeria, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Zambia, 2 creating a transformative impact upon education and communities in flood-prone regions.

Developed: Bangladesh

Deployed:  Bangladesh 


National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. “Climate Change and Human Health: Present and Future Risks.” 2006.

Bangladesh Development Research Center (BDRC). “Bangladesh’s Solar Powered Floating Schools.” 2012.


3 The New York Times. “Floating Schools Bring Classrooms to Stranded Students.” 2013. 4 Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha. “Study on Integrated Floating Farming.” Report. 2014.

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

Solar-powered floating schools pick students up for classes and take them back home afterwards.

Mohammed Rezwan, Founder and Executive Director Photo: Abir Abdullah/Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha


Sustainia100 2014