Friday, May 31, 2013

Our dream

The Marist Brothers arrived to Bangladesh 6 years ago. It was a new country for us. It has been necessary to start everything from scratch, including learning Bengali language, networking, meeting people, letting us know, getting used to the climate, to the food, to the idiosyncrasy of the wonderful people of this country, the most densely populated in the world.

During these first years we have been collaborating with other institutions (in Pirgacha, Dinajpur, Srimongol and Mymensingh), learning about the Bangladeshi educational system, studying the many possibilities and proposals that have been offered to us.

In the range of possibilities to work, we have finally chosen one: to provide education to the children of the workers in the tea plantations.

Why this choice? The criteria were as follows:

- Choosing a particularly needy population group
- Going there where others could not or did not want to go
- The workers in the tea plantations in Bangladesh are possibly the most disadvantaged social group in the country. The conditions in which they live and work border on what we might call modern slavery; their conditions are much tougher than those of employees of the textile workshops, sadly famous after the incidents at Savar (Dhaka), Pope Francis did not hesitate to describe it as slavery and has mobilized the sensitivity of much of Western societies.

The project we want to carry out consists of a secondary school for the children of tea plantations workers, and boarding house for boys and girls.

For this purpose we have located a site in a small town called Moulovibazar, in the region of Sylhet, just adjacent to tea plantations. We must buy the land and then build the first stage, consisting of a school (ten classrooms, two floors) and boarding school for girls (capacity 100 people, two floors). The rest of the project, which would include the boarding school for boys and the expansion of the school, will come in a second phase in the medium term.

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