Nuclear families have emerged, breaking the century old concept of the joint family with the rise of modern urban lifestyles, where everyone is too busy to give enough time to children which disrupt severely their overall wellbeing.
Children spend most of their time confined at home in front of digital screens as there are not enough open fields in urban areas of the country.
To free children from their confined life, CPDL, a housing company in Chattogram, built Boo Boo World, a socio-entertainment club for children, on SS Khaled Road in the Jamalkhan area of the port city in 2019.
Currently, more than a thousand children and teenagers come to Boo Boo World every day to participate in various indoor activities.
It has 18 types of indoor games and rides with arrangements for children and their families to dine-in. There is also a gift shop inside the facility.
Children and families can enter this park for free. They have to buy coins each for Tk50 for different games. However, different games may need a different number of coins.
Engineer Iftekhar Hosen, president of CPDL and founder of Boo Boo World, tells Omar Faruque of The Business Standard about the inspiration behind the project and future plans concerning it.
How did you come up with the idea of creating something for children as an entrepreneur in the housing sector?
CPDL always works with innovative solutions in the housing sector. For a small country with high population, the amount of usable land is constantly decreasing here. One of the challenges in the housing sector in this country is the maximum use of the smallest space. We try to generate ideas by understanding basic human problems.
One of the problems is providing special arrangements for children in apartment projects. It is in this context that we started having kids' zones in our project. When we see children having a good time in these special zones, it feels like our efforts are successful. However, there is also regret that we could not do this in all our projects.
It is from this feeling of regret that we feel the need to create a separate entertainment zone for children in the city, with arrangements for their physical and mental development. It includes various intellectual, physical and creative activities, camping, swimming and many other important life skills. We wanted to provide endless opportunities to transform the limited sphere of our children's life into a large-scale social life.
We formulated the plan of a family entertainment centre for children, teenagers and the busy urban population in one of our undergoing construction projects in the Foy's Lake area of Chattogram. We started the Boo Boo World as a pilot project in the Jamal Khan area to test the feasibility of this plan.
How will children benefit from the project?
There are different types of clubs for elders in the city where we can connect with each other. We think that children also need the opportunity for socialisation, where they will learn to communicate outside school. This will enable our children to grow up and be ready to face the challenges of the future.
How do you ensure safety for the children?
The safety of the children is our highest priority. We sanitise every item of Boo Boo World with great care. We thoroughly analysed the safety issue while setting up furniture and other things. Boo Boo World works with young children, so their sensitivity is very important to us.
We have a team of trained and skilled Kids' Ambassadors to take care of the children around the clock. Along with their technical training, we also provide them behavioural training so that each child and his or her parents feel psychologically safe. Children of a certain age and height are allowed to enter the Lost World. The entire Lost World is safety padded so that no one falls and gets hurt. Each child needs a whole new pair of socks, which we provide, to enter here.
Many parents leave their children at Boo Boo World and go to other places as they feel safe.
How successful is the pilot project?
We have not built it for money. It has a psychological dimension for us. Basically, we implemented the project for purposes of research and development. In that respect, it has definitely been successful. It would have been more beneficial if our special Kid Can Do segment for children's intellectual development was sustainable. It had to be shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we have plans to restart it in future.
Our biggest achievement is that children in Chattogram city have loved Boo Boo World.
What are your future plans for Boo Boo World?
We have some new plans. We will relocate Boo Boo World on a larger scale at a more attractive location very soon. Besides, we will build two more amusement facilities at Foy's Lake and Halishahar areas of the city.
Moreover, the latest games will be added to the 15,000 square feet adventure park in Foy's Lake Road within six months where children as well as teenagers and young people would have entertainment opportunities. There will also be the updated versions of the gaming experience and the latest laser technologies.
New Soul Hospitality Management, mother company of Boo Boo World, has also undertaken a project to set up amusement parks in Dhaka and Cox's Bazar.