A Snap Shot is a  executive summary of a Case Study of a MESH Guide used in practice which highlights their context, outcomes, real and any potential benefits resulting from this collaboration with MESH. This includes connections to other issues and the potential for application by others in schools and other educational settings.

Early Years Education in Bangladesh: Rohingya Children 

Title: What about the children of the Rohingya? VSO MESHGuide on ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education), for ‘Education in Emergencies’   – providing research summaries and practical guidance for teachers/volunteer aid workers/parents and siblings to address UN Sustainable Development Goal 4c 

by Stephen Hall

Rohingya refugee children learning in a safe educational area
Rohingya refugee children learning in a safe educational area

Rohingya refugee children going to school
Rohingya refugee children going to school

Background information:

Thousands of Rohingya refugee children are living in camps in Bangladesh. Very young children have experienced violence and ongoing trauma and still lack safe spaces to learn and play. Working in partnership with the International VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), a MESHGuide (an online knowledge map) focused on supporting the learning of very young children has been written and rolled out for use with VSO volunteers in refugee camps. The MESHGuide for teacher and parent volunteers has been developed for use as a home-based early childhood care and education in emergencies programme (ECCE) working with children aged 3-5 years. Parents and older siblings have joined in the initiative.


This is a rapid response to an obvious need for children and families missing education at an influential time who urgently required interventions for learning support in addition to care and nutrition (the turnaround time from identification of problem to publication of MESHGuide was  within a matter of weeks).

Although responding to a specific need in Bangladesh, this project has a universal context, directly relevant in emergency settings and conditions of poverty and where parents are not early years teachers. In that respect it is:-

  • Immediately transferable and relevant to anyone with contact with children in similar circumstances
  • Indirectly transferable to other settings and context in other countries, including the UK, where there are high levels of unemployment, poverty and both social and emotional trauma for children
  • Raising awareness of the potential of forgotten or previously untapped resources such as home-based inter-generational learning, older siblings as teachers/facilitators etc

Quote from a grandmother “I’ve learnt so much about aspects of education I haven’t thought of before and about how to help the learning of my grandchildren.”

Quotes from the practitioners “ I have changed the way I teach young children” “ It has made me more aware of the importance of families in supporting education in the early years”

The project might also remind educationalists with more stable and developed education systems that so much good practice that has developed in primary education has a foundation in early years and special needs. This includes parental partnership, sensitive assessment based upon what a child can do and a small steps approach with interesting reinforcement based on realistic challenges.

Relevant area(s) of research/education: Early childhood studies; cognitive development; social and emotional development; children in poverty; attachment theory; working with parents; inter-generational learning; displacement; attachment theory, home education; education in developing countries; self-organised learning; helping communities/families/individuals to help themselves; self-help groups; refugee education

Keywords: Conditions for learning, early childhood care and education (ECCE), cognitive development, emotional stability and well-being, trauma and mental health, language development, social and emotional skills, refugee/early childhood development training, parental involvement, home education, self-organised learning, social capital.
Direct benefits/How MESHGuides have ‘come alive’ in this project:

  • MESHGuides can be used by anyone, parents, practitioners, volunteers anytime, anywhere in the world
  • Direct impact on people’s lives in beneficial way – putting ownership of learning and education back into families and communities as well as formal centres for learning
  • Rapid response to an identified need – this has positive implications for individual schools, networks and MATs seeking to find evidence-based solutions to perceived needs
Indirect benefits/Unexpected or connected issues/impact that this project has provoked:

  • Anyone involved in this project, by thinking about how we meet the needs of early years, gain a benefit from looking at learning from a different pair of eyes
  • We sometimes get so absorbed in our own practice that we can disregard the potential of new ideas from educational settings that are different from our everyday experience but when we look at practice in a different setting, it may open our thinking
Other relevant MESHGuides:

Deaf Education: Glue Ear, Early Support for Deaf Children 0-5, Auditory Processing Difficulties