|Name:||Quazi Wafiq Alam (Architect), Tasadduk Hossain Dulu (Artist) & Sufian Bin Mohammed (Civil Engineer)|
|Location:||Camp 3, Modhuchora, Cox's Bazar|
Since 25 August 2017, when the latest Rohingya refugee influx from Myanmar to Bangladesh began, the number of refugees has steadily grown in Bangladesh. UNHCR continues to scale its response, offering lifesaving support to refugee families, and particularly to the most vulnerable individuals, including women, children, and the elderly. In 2018, UNHCR and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) embarked on a joint registration exercise targeting the population. The exercise helps advance refugees’ access to protection services, protects refugees against refulgent while ensuring that refugees’ right to voluntarily return safeguarded once conditions are conducive for return. The population planning figure for 2020 is 840,000 refugees in line with the estimate provided by the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR joint registration exercise, and as reflected in the 2020 Joint Response Plan (JRP).
The lack of space in the crowded camps limits the number of learning centres that can be built, most learning centres operate three daily “shifts,” of just two hours each, in order to reach a larger number of children. UNHCR-CODEC EPRC Project implemented by Community Development Centre (CODEC) is one of the pioneer organizations to design and establish a low cost and sustainable two-storied learning centre in the Rohingya camps.
The structure of the two-storied learning centres are designed with hollow steel tubes which make it lighter than using steel ‘I’ sections and also makes it easy to transport in the hard to reach Rohingya refugee camps. The steel structure is also built in such a way that it can easily be taken apart and transported to another location if required. All joints in the structure are bolted joints for this purpose. The structure is strengthened by cross-bracings to make it more resilient during the cyclonic storms which are frequent in the area. The concrete foundation which supports the structure is also designed considering the uplift forces and landslide issues.
The hard bone (Steel structure) is covered by a soft skin made by Muli bamboo (Melocanna baccifera). The Muli bamboo facade makes the structure more environmentally friendly and also makes it familiar with the Rohingya people and students. The whole Muli bamboo Facade is laced together with ropes. This way of making facades also helps to replace any bamboo if needed in the future. Maximizing natural light and ventilation in the structure were given outmost importance in the design to make it more climatically comfortable for the students.
Artworks were introduced in the facades to make it more interesting for the children and making the learning space more lively and warm. My colleague Mr. Tasadduk Hossain Dulu who is an Artist helped us in this process. The children and the teachers were involved in the artworks very intimately. They painted their dreams with the colours they like in their own learning centre.
After completing the construction of these learning centers, the surrounding Rohingya community, Student and Teachers were very happy with their new facility. It created a sense of belonging to the community, which is the most notable achievement of the project. Already 18 such two storied LC has been established and CODEC is trying hard to build more 60 such learning centre within 2021 through UNHCR-CODEC EPRC Projects.