Dec 24, 2009

Visit to Bangladesh

I have made a 5-day visit of Bangladesh from 14 to 18 December as a member of the Caritas Japan team. Caritas Japan has been assisting 3 specific programs in cooperation with Caritas Bangladesh. Our financial assistance goes to the "Education Support Program to Children (ESPC)" which support especially children of indigenous people in 3 areas. As for this visit, we made a 3-day trip to north west city of Rajshahi where more than 300 kids receives financial assistance to continue their secondary education. Caritas Japan also assist children in Chittagong and Sylhet within the framework of the same program.

Caritas Bangladesh which employs more than 3,500 as full time staff and another 3,500 as part time staff all over Bangladesh is regarded as one of the best NGOs in the country by many, probably also by the government. At this moment, they manage more than 60 programs in the country. Though the number of Catholics in the country is less than 0.3% of the entire population of more than 150 million and majority of the country are Muslim, this Catholic NGO managed to achieve such reputation through their efficient activities and good relationship with other religious believers. In fact, 60% of employee of the CB are from Muslim community.

Children we met in Rajshahi were quite enthusiastic about realising their future dreams such as being doctor, teacher, nurse and engineer, even some among them aspire to be religious. Indigenous people in Bangladesh has been going through hard time since the independence of the country in 1971 from Pakistan. As they belong neither Hindu nor Muslim communities, they could not find their own place in neither in India nor Bangladesh. Many of them are landless and jobless. Unfortunately, as in many other countries which has indigenous people, their fundamental human rights have not been protected and secured.

We visited a family of one student. Their house was surrounded by paddy fields but none of them belong to the family. They are landless and living on the public property. In order to make a living, the parents have to be hired by day labor which provide them less than 200 Yen a day for each. Despite of all sort of difficulties, father of the student told me his hope and expectation of blight future of his son through education which Caritas Japan has been assisting. He was determined to overcome any difficulties for his Son to continue his education. (Photo above is the father of the student)

My gratitude to Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi who hosted me in his residence with his warm smile and also to Dr. Benedict Alo D'Rozario, the executive director of CB and all other staff members of CB.

No comments:

Post a Comment