Schoolgirls have called upon the authorities concerned to take initiatives for ensuring the right to sports on the fields and playgrounds in Dhaka city.
“I want to play too. Ensure my right to sports on the fields and playgrounds,” a number of female students of Rayerbazar area raised the demand in an awareness rally held on the Rayerbazar Baisakhi playground in the capital on Monday (October 3).
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, the Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh, Rayer Bazar High School, Dhaka Ideal Cadet School, Dhanmondi Kachikanth High School and Ali Hossain Girls School and Success Model Academy jointly arranged the event demanding ensuring the access to all, including women, children and people with disabilities in the fileds and playgrounds in the capital city.
A number of girls of the schools took part in the awareness rally which was arranged to mark the World Habitat Day. The day was observed this year with the theme ‘Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind’.
MA Mannan Monir, headmaster of Dhaka Ideal Cadet School; Tahajjot Hossain of Rayer Bazar High School; Rita Akhter of Dhanmondi Kachikanth High School; and Naima Akter, project manager at the WBB Trust; spoke on the occasion, among others. Representatives from Carfree Cities Alliance Bangladesh and Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh also attended the programme.
Speakers of the awareness rally said that the number of field, parks and playgrounds in Dhaka city is very insufficient. As a result, there is no opportunity for girls, children, teenagers or women to play in the limited number of fields and parks. This has a negative effect on their physical and mental health.
The speakers said that only more than two and a half percent of teenagers do regular sports or physical work in urban areas. The number of girls among them is very poor due to lack of opportunities and social barriers.
Some of the speakers informed that various initiatives have been taken from both the city corporations of Dhaka to develop of field and parks in the capital. However, the presence of women or girls did not increase as much. The condition of disabled children is even worse. So, it is now necessary to create sports opportunities for girls, children, adolescents, women and disabled people in the fields and parks in the city in order to ensure proper development, said the speakers.
The speakers further said that the number of area-based fields, parks and open spaces currently available in Dhaka city is very less comparatively. Most of schools in the city have no playgrounds. As a result, addiction to computers and mobile phones is increasing. Adolescence is an important period of life. If the mental health is not good at this time, many people suffer from various problems.
Besides, physical health is also negatively affected. More than 26 percent of urban adolescents are overweight.
The speakers from the programme placed some recommendations, including ensuring the access of parks and playgrounds for all; ensuring the safety of all in the park and fields; creation of separate corner for women; undertaking various activities to encourage girl children and adolescents to enter the fields.