Ending modern slavery in the tea gardens of Bangladesh
The workers in the Tea Gardens in Moulvibazar are one of the most deprived groups in Bangladesh, working in slave-like conditions and earning approximately 65 US cents a day. As indentured labourers they struggle to feed their children, let alone send them to school. Without a proper education, these children have little hope of finding alternative employment or breaking out of the poverty cycle. The Marist Brothers, in collaboration with the Diocese of Sylhet, have established a secondary school, offering free education (Grade 6-10) for 200 Tea Garden children.
St Marcellin School, Moulovibazar opened its doors today (January 2nd, 2017) and now facilitates secondary education for the children of Moulovibazar and Sreemangal districts, addressing in particular boys and girls from the tea plantation areas. The school will also offer boarding for its students in what has been described as a move to improve the health and sanitation for those most vulnerable. The living conditions of these communities are remarkably meagre due to the lack of proper utility facilities, especially in water supply and sanitation sectors.
The pre-selection of the first students was undertaken in November and December, 2016 with 73 students coming from the tea plantations and 20 more from the nearby village of Giasnogor. A feature of the school is its ethnic and religious diversity as 38 students are Hindu, 22 Muslim and 30 Christian, whilst the ratio of boys to girls is almost even. Promoting social integration among young boys and girls belonging to different ethnics groups and with different religious backgrounds is fundamental to developing better social understanding, inter-religious dialogue and cooperation among all.
Your support has provided free education of some of the most deprived groups of people in Bangladesh this project also caters for fee-paying students whose parents have employment outside the tea plantations. However, much more needs to be done for the many families of the tea gardens and your continued support will allow the school to offer more grades of education, increasing the schools cohort by approximately 70 students per annum.
There is a better future possible for these children. Donate now and help us end modern slavery.