Lack of playgrounds force urban children to lead confined life

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By Emrana Ahmed

DHAKA, March 2, 2018 (BSS) – Rashida Begum, a resident of the city’s
Farmgate Monipuri Para, is maintaining a family with her husband and six-
year-old son Anik and four-year-old daughter Ria. Her two kids are studying
at a local missionary school.

After returning from the school, Rashida’s two children become crazy to
play. As the school is built in a house inside a “mohalla” (locality), it
lacks adequate space for playing. Though there is a playground adjacent to
the main road of Farmgate, Rashida does not dare to take her children to the
ground due to the unhygienic environment and free movement of the drug
addicts. So, the kids are compelled to spend most of the time with watching
television and playing games in computer.

Their world is getting small day by day due to confined life in an urban
flat. But the children even don’t realise when they’re losing their exciting
childhood. They’re being attacked by various diseases after staying in the
house.

Like the private schools of the city, most of the government primary
schools are confined by walls. The schools seem like prisons. There is no
space except classrooms and corridor. Shihab, a student of class-four, likes
study but he doesn’t feel courage to go to his school. The reason is clear
that the school has no playground. He has to stay in the house in a
restrained environment.

It is seen that the private schools run their activities on a single
floor. According to government rules, any school cannot be established on
land below 33 decimals. But schools are rampantly run flouting the rules.

This correspondent has got the authenticity of the comments of Rashida
Begum after talking to guardians and visiting different areas of the capital.

“In the meantime, the children and juveniles fell into clutch of
aggression of the sky culture,” remarked Nazneen Sultana, a resident of
Dhanmondi.

Her three-year-old daughter Shreya watches Hindi-dubbed “Doraemon”
cartoon on television throughout the day. Though, Shreya doesn’t speak Bangla
properly, she has already acquired Hindi after watching Doraemon cartoon.

Like Nazneen Sultana, most of the guardians made similar allegations.
The scenario of growing up of rural children is completely reverse of the
urban children.

Sharmin Haidar of Shyamoli area said the rural children suffer from
diseases less as they grow up in open environment filled with adequate light
and air and eat fresh foods.

When former director of Shishu Academy and actress Falguni Ahmed was
asked to comment the reason for being dependent on indoor entertainment by
the children, she said the urban children have not adequate number of
playgrounds.

The few playgrounds that exist in the city are unhygienic and dirty.
There is no environment to play in these grounds due to free movement of the
drug addicts.

As there are lack of entertainment facilities for the children in
outside of the house, they are compelled to be dependent on indoor
entertainment, lamented Falguni.

Dr Zillur Rahman Khan, an associate professor of the Child Guidance
Clinic of the National Institute of the Mental Health, said the mental growth
of the children is being hampered due to bad relations between their parents,
high expectations of the guardians about their children, pressure of study
and lack of scope for group games and sports.

Mainly those children, who don’t get scope for games and sports, suffer
from depression and the desperate attitude is more among those who spent time
by playing video games.

Describing the children as the future of the nation, Prof Khan laid
stress on opening their world as much as possible.

He said the children and juveniles need open playground to grow up
freely which is almost rare in busy cities.

“It’s regrettable that due to our reluctance and ignorance, different
gardens and parks of the city are on the verge of ruination,” he said.

Prof Khan regretted that nearly 90 percent parks of Dhaka city have gone
to the possession of the grabbers due to negligence and dishonesty of the
authorities concerned.

Tracing out the existence of 33 parks out of 47 has become very
difficult and competition is going on to grab the remaining parks, he said.

The Ministry of Women and Children has framed the National Child Policy
2011 incorporating various initiatives for flourishing the mental growth of
the children. This policy has given emphasis to the entertainment and
cultural work of the children. It said that there will be playground,
available supply of sports materials in every institute and their use will be
ensured.

Though the policy has a provision for making mandatory for setting up
area-based children parks and keeping playgrounds for the children in the
urban plan, the real picture was seen completely different after visiting
different areas of the city.

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