dream starts with a fragment of hope and the children are
our hope for a better tomorrow. Bangladesh has a substantial
population below the age of ten, and in future they will run
our country in many ways with many expertise. BRAC has always
been an active contributor in the enhancement of child issues.
Recently, BRAC University came forward and held a workshop
called Arch.Kids (Architecture for Kids) on their campus.
Knowing how important a role the children are going to play
in future; Arch.Kids aim was to develop children as conscious
citizens of Bangladesh.
of this workshop came from Assistant Professor Dr Q M Mahtab-uz-Zaman.
He left the country in 1992 to pursue his higher studies and
ten years after living in Hong Kong, he came back to Bangladesh
in 2002. The first thing he observed was how the children
were negatively exposed to our 'undesirable practice in terms
of environmental management, urban development and architectural
creations'. Today's children are more exposed to media. They
carry with them a new vision and their demands are diverse.
It is for us to see that they have a chance to a better environment
with sustainable architecture. The workshop's plan was to
provide the children with knowledge of how to manage their
Vice Chancellor of BRAC University Professor Jamilur Reza
Choudhury inaugurated the workshop and shared his views with
the children. The workshop consisted of about 15 children
between six and eight, coming from different schools. The
number was limited because it would enable the coordinators
to monitor how the children perceived things in the city realm,
as it was the first workshop of this kind in Bangladesh. As
the workshop started, the children were shown slides featuring
subjects of environment and architecture in Bangladesh. These
were everyday scenes, one to make the children feel comfortable
about the subject matter at hand. The slides also contained
scenes from Asia, Europe and America. The idea was to create
a contrast between the countries and help the children identify
the important environmental and architectural features missing
in our surroundings.
open discussion between the children and the coordinators,
the children were questioned about their localities. Through
the slides, the problems existing in our city were identified.
For example, one such slide featured a cluster of buildings
with hardly any
trees. The children were asked what was wrong with the slide
and they clearly identified that the image should have contained
more trees. Other slides contained pictures of clean footpaths,
garbage bins and litter, just to create awareness in the children.
session was model making where the children grouped and were
given various items, like cars, trees, buses, buildings, factories,
schools, roads and water bodies. They were told to build their
ideal type of city and they did it with a lot of enthusiasm.
The end results were three beautiful miniature cities.
this was a fun-filled colouring session, where the children
drew what pictures came to their minds. They were later given
certificates for attending this workshop. Having participated
in this event, the group had become members to Arch.Kids and
as more workshops will follow in the future, the membership
will grow. These children will be looked upon for opinions
about environment and architecture. In doing so, the children
will be actively participating in protecting the best interests
of the city.
Q M Mahtab-uz-Zaman is quite positive about the outcome of
this endeavour. "In the future, we'll hold this workshop
in various schools and we hope to go to rural areas where
there is less awareness," says Zaman. "We also hope
to hold a workshop at Shishu Academy."
was an optimistic step towards building a better environment.
As ventures of this type grow, it would surely enable us to
build conscious citizens of tomorrow.