Music for Development (MfD) harnesses the transformative power of art and music, to develop life-changing capabilities and skills, for groups of Dhaka’s slum-dwelling children.Our guiding philosophy and key differentiator follows from the 1913 Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s idea that many past understandings of ‘education’ may no longer be by themselves adequate for children to prosper today. Our project seeks to develop fully rounded young adults, by reinforcing their normal school-based literacy/numeracy learning with relevant tutorial support, as well as broadening their education and life skills, to enable them to break out of the cycle of poverty and become fully engaged responsible members of their society.

Goals:Build incomegeneration capabilities, Nurturing interpersonalsocial skills, to guide them in becoming confident, principled, participating members of society, Provoke consideration of their own personalresponsibilities as well as responsibility towards their community, Raise awareness of human rights, improve the lives of children of sex workers, who remain a stigmatised part of society.

In Dhaka, 3.2 million inhabitants are slum-dwellers and nearly 1.5 million Bangladeshi slum-dwellers are children. These slums lack even the most basic amenities, such as running water, hygiene, sewage systems, waste disposal and access to basic services, such as health clinics. Children particularly face hardships that include hunger, malnutrition, and insufficient education. The long-term objectives of MfD are drawn from the National Education Policy (2010) of the government of Bangladesh.

1) To remove socio-economic discrimination, to develop fellow-feeling and respect for human rights

The project aims to provide equal learning opportunities to these children in an environment where children from all social classes can mingle and create an atmosphere of fellow-feeling and friendliness regardless of one’s background.

2) To ensure a creative, favourable and joyful environment for children for proper protection and congenial development;

The project aims to develop the ability of free-thinking and creative expression in children. The staff will ensure a protective and favourable environment for the children through monitoring and safeguarding policies.

3) To help students grow up with sound moral character

The process of arts education serves as an outlet of the mind and imagination; through this children will develop an understanding of rights and responsibilities. They will be given social/moral lessons for character development and encouraged to become social change agents to influence the moral values and motivation of other children from similar backgrounds.

However, the achievement of these objectives is susceptible to several problems. Performing arts are often discouraged due to social/religious restrictions in these areas; as a result, convincing the parents of the benefits of arts education is a challenge in itself. Therefore, parent-teacher meetings will be conducted regularly, updating parents on the progress made by their children, so that they see results themselves and consult them on our areas needing improvement.

Core competencies

Music for Development, Shurer Dhara aspires to encourage self-development in disadvantaged children using the transformative power of music and arts as a tool.

Experience of ShurerDhara as a music school in teaching music, art and culture to children since 1992, and to deprived children since 2009

Draws on ideas of child-rearing from Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore

A very joyful and child-friendly environment for learning

Past performance

Affiliated with UPPR-UNDP for the project’s successful completion of its pilot year 2009-2010

Recognised by the Cultural Ministry of Bangladesh

Have prevented school drop-outs on several occasions

Building competent performers in music, dance and poetry, who now perform at various events as young professionals

Acting in creating vaccination, hygiene, social norms, child rights awareness

Acting in preventing child marriage

Inclusion of education aid programs

Expanded beneficiaries by including a group of children of sex workers in 2016. The new section is called Shuktara.


Pioneer of one of a kind children’s classes teaching them about moral values and social cohesion through music as well as meditation, dance and acting

Holistic approach e.g. includes well-rounded arts education and academic help

Special focus on children of sex-worker parents

Corporate data

Music for Development currently enrolls 45 students in the program, with a management team of five, 2 advisors/consultants, 1 permanent teacher for music, 5 contractual teachers for dance, poetry, art and tuition and guest teachers for drama and social/moral lessons. The entire project is led by the team leader, renowned Tagore exponent RezwanaChoudhuryBannya.

The particularly-designed curriculum of the project comprises a range of lessons and activities for the children.

This includes:


Tutorial help (subjects include mathematics, science, English and Bangla language)



Art and painting

General Knowledge

Computer literacy

Craftwork workshop

Drama workshop

Ethics Lesson

Counseling session (particularly for adolescents)

Regular health check-up

Regular lessons are conducted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week.

Contact information

Md.Ali Akkas

Senior Project Officer

Adrina Jamilee

Junior Project Officer


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