Friday, September 7, 2018

Increase in salary in tea plantations. Aumento del sueldo en las plantaciones de té


A few days ago it was reported that tea workers in Bangladesh will enjoy a pay rise. The climb is from 82 takas to 102 takas. That is, a little more than 1 euro per day for eight hours of work. One does not know whether to laugh or cry when reading this news. The Daily Star article, a Bangladeshi newspaper, is very illustrative of the situation. You can read it here.
Hace unos días se ha publicado que los trabajadores del té en Bangladesh gozarán de una subida de sueldo. La subida es de 82 takas a 102 takas. Es decir, un poquito más de 1 euro al día por ocho horas de trabajo. Uno no sabe si reír o llorar al leer esta noticia. El artículo del Daily Star, un diario de Bangladesh, es muy ilustrativo de la situación. Puedes leerlo aquí.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Universal Periodic Review on Bangladesh


The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.

Bangladesh was represented by Mr. Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, who presented his report on the progress made in recent years and answered the questions of the delegations.
Several countries acknowledged their efforts to welcome one million Rohinyas Muslims and keep the borders open to refugees and displaced people. Also for its fight against poverty and the promotion of social development (education, health, social security, food) in recent years. Another noteworthy aspect is the number of women present in authority roles (the best gender equality in South Asia).
At the same time, they issued recommendations focused on:

· Guarantee freedom of expression, especially on the internet, ensuring the right to the opposition, journalists and human rights defenders to be protected from murder.
· A moratorium on the death penalty and, finally, its final elimination.
· Strengthen protection measures for workers. That companies respond for the damage they cause to their health. Improve working conditions in the textile sector and informal commerce.
· Fight against human trafficking and trafficking, as a country of origin, destination and transit.
· Access to justice for refugee and stateless women and girls.
· Continue collaborating so that the Rohinyas return to their country with security.
· Guarantee living conditions and regulate the hiring of migrant workers.
· Measures to act against climate change and continue promoting sustainable development. Access to education, health, employment.
· Legal protection for ethnic minorities, indigenous people and fight against religious extremism.
· Access to education and public services for people with disabilities.
· Fight against discrimination and harassment against LGBTI people. Decriminalize consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex.
· Ratification of international treaties to which Bangladesh is still not a party: the Optional Protocol of the Committee against Torture and the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.

The next step is for Bangladesh to review and decide which of those recommendations it is willing to accept.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Fresh fish. Pescado fresco



To help a little to the sustainability of our project in Giasnogor, we have decided to set up a small fish farm. We have brought 150 fish from our neighbor's pond and we hope that from time to time we can feed the boys and girls of the school fish without having to buy it, as it is quite expensive. Of course this is not going to get us out of trouble, but it is one more droplet in our effort to take advantage of the renewable resources we have at our disposal, such as the planting of black pepper, the vegetable garden, the dry wood for the kitchen and the sale of trees that storms throw down. As you see in the pictures, the fish have excited our students, who spend their dead hours watching them. And thanks to Bro. Alex, who has made it possible.
Para ayudar un poco a la sostenibilidad de nuestro proyecto en Giasnogor, hemos decidido poner una pequeña piscifactoría. Hemos traído 150 peces del estanque de un vecino nuestro y esperamos que de vez en cuando podamos dar de comer pescado a los chicos y chicas del colegio sin tener que comprarlo, ya que es bastante caro. Por supuesto esto no os va a sacar de apuros, pero es una gotita más en nuestro esfuerzo de aprovechar los recursos renovables que tenemos a nuestro alcance, como la plantación de pimienta negra, la huerta de verduras, la leña seca para la cocina y la venta de los árboles que nos tiran las tormentas. Como ves en las fotos, los peces han entusiasmado a nuestros alumnos y alumnas, que se pasan las horas muertas mirándolos. Y gracias al H. Alex que ha dirigido la operación.







Thursday, January 18, 2018

Six degrees and barefoot. A seis grados y descalzos


It's being cold in Bangladesh. Temperature’s been unusually low for three weeks now. At some point in the country, 2.8ºC has been recorded, the lowest temperature in 50 years. Neither the houses nor the clothes of the people are prepared for this. As there is no heating system, the temperature is the same inside and outside the houses. Children come to school in the middle of a thick fog at 8:30 in the morning. And some, like the one in the photo, have an anorak but do not have shoes. There you have him with his books, his hood, but in flip flops. We warm them up with some physical exercises before entering class and then, in the classroom, the human warmth makes the thing more bearable. But these children got merit who leave their homes with just a cup of tea in their stomach, in the midst of the cold and fog, and have to cross at least one jury bridge to come to study.
Está haciendo frío en Bangladesh. Llevamos ya tres semanas con temperaturas inusualmente bajas. En algún punto del país se han registrado 2,8ºC, la temperatura más baja en 50 años. Ni las casas ni la ropa de la gente están preparadas para esto. Como no hay calefacción, la temperatura es la misma dentro y fuera de casa. Los niños vienen al colegio en medio de una espesa niebla a las 8:30 de la mañana. Y algunos, como el de la foto tienen un anorak pero no tienen zapatos. Ahí lo tienes con sus libros, su capucha, pero en chancletas. Les hacemos entrar en calor con unos ejercicios físicos antes de entrar en clase y luego, ya en el aula, el calor humano hace la cosa más llevadera. Pero ya tienen mérito estos niños que salen de sus casas con sólo una taza de té en el estómago, en medio del frío y la niebla, y tienen que atravesar al menos un puente de fortuna para venir a estudiar.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We know the “why”. Tenemos claro el por qué



Today, exactly one year ago, the first student entered through the gate of St. Marcellin School in Giasnogor, Bangladesh. A highly emotional moment that seemed like the culmination of a dream, but in fact it was the beginning of a new adventure. 97 boys and girls, belonging to 3 religions and 22 different ethnic groups, began a journey, accompanied by 10 educators belonging to 3 religions, 3 nationalities and 4 ethnic groups. The mission is difficult, to say it softly. These kids come mostly from tea plantations, they do not have electricity in their homes, live in adobe or corrugated rooms, have had a primary education more than precarious and, this we have seen later, come from not only poor but also broken families. It was clear that the objective was not so much the academic results, as to strengthen their self-esteem, offer them a safe and cheerful place without violence, give them the basic principles, reinforce their dignity, and integrate the different social groups. We are talking about a group with a high percentage of school dropouts (up to 70% in some schools). Many of those who have passed have already gone further than their parents in education. Well, with everything and with that, I think we're getting it. For those who like numbers, I will tell you that we have lost only 5 students during the year; 20 will repeat class to face the rest of their education with guarantees; and 72 have passed. In a few days we will start again with twice as many students, an educational team reinforced with several more members and a crazy desire to achieve what we pursue. Someone said that if you are clear about the why, then the how-when-where are not impossible. And we, with God's help, are clear about why. We are in the hands of God.
Hoy hace exactamente un año que el primer alumno entró por la puerta de la escuela St. Marcellin en Giasnogor, Bangladesh. Un momento altamente emotivo que parecía la culminación de un sueño, pero en realidad fue el comienzo de una nueva aventura. 97 niños y niñas, pertenecientes a 3 religiones y 22 grupos étnicos diferentes comenzaron una andadura, acompañados por 10 educadores pertenecientes a 3 religiones, 3 nacionalidades y 4 etnias. La misión es difícil, por emplear un término suave. Estos chavales provienen en su mayoría de plantaciones de té, no tienen luz eléctrica en sus casas, viven en habitaciones de adobe o uralita, han tenido una educación primaria más que precaria y, esto lo hemos visto después, provienen de familias no sólo pobres sino también rotas. Estaba claro que el objetivo no eran tanto los resultados académicos, como fortalecer su autoestima, ofrecerles un lugar seguro y alegre sin violencia, darles los principios básicos, reforzar su dignidad, integrar los diferentes grupos sociales. Estamos hablando de un colectivo con un altísimo porcentaje de abandono escolar (hasta 70% en algunas escuelas). Muchos de los que han aprobado el curso han llegado ya más lejos que sus padres en la educación. Pues bien, con todo y con eso, creo que lo vamos consiguiendo. A los que les gustan los números, les diré que sólo hemos perdido 5 alumnos durante el año; 20 van a repetir curso para encarar el resto de su educación con garantías; y 72 han aprobado. Dentro de unos días volveremos a empezar con el doble de alumnos, un equipo educativo reforzado con varios miembros más y unas ganas locas de conseguir lo que perseguimos. Alguien dijo que si tienes claro el por qué, los cómo-cuándo-dónde no son imposibles. Y nosotros, con la ayuda de Dios, tenemos claro el por qué. Estamos en las manos de Dios.