Art Competition in Bangladesh Honors Girl Children
On September 10, 2009, about 400 children gathered at the Shishu Academy in Dhaka for an art competition coordinated by member organizations of the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF), including The Hunger Project (THP) (which serves as the secretariat), ActionAid Bangladesh and Bangladesh Shishu Academy on behalf of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. THP volunteers played a facilitating role in the event, one of a series leading up to the celebration of National Girl Child Day across the country on October 6.
This year, the theme of National Girl Child Day is "Let every girl child grow up in a safe and fun-filled environment." Children took part in the competition to reflect their understanding of this theme through art.
Girls and boys aged 6-16 arrived in droves from 43 different institutions to participate in the competition. They came from Dhaka-based primary and secondary schools, as well as through different NGOs whose non-formal education centers often serve marginalized children, such as children with disabilities.
Divided into sub-groups by age, they were asked to paint one of three different topics: "Our Garden" for 6-8 year olds, "Our Dream" for 9-12 year olds, and "The River and Life" for 13-16 year olds. Two hours were allocated for the competition and the sound of crayons and paintbrushes scratching on paper resonated through the halls of Shishu Academy, where children sat cross-legged on the floor surrounded by their art supplies.
The paintings that emerged were vibrant, colorful and moving, representing a world in which children are safe to play and study and free from hunger and poverty. One particularly beautiful piece was painted by a girl who was mute, but who spoke eloquently through her art.
At the end of the allotted period, children drifted outdoors while THP volunteers collected their masterpieces. The judges were Hashem Khan, a renowned artist, and Samina Nafiz, Program Officer of the Art Institute of Shishu Academy. They selected five winners from each sub-group. Prizes will be distributed to the talented children on National Girl Child Day.