Send Tea Farmers’ Children to School
Over the years, YOU have been able to uplift the children of tea farmers in Bangladesh and give them the life-changing opportunity of a quality Catholic education. Now, more than ever, they need your devotion! Despite challenges, including tragic flooding that occurred in the country last year, the children continue to stay persistent in their studies. YOU can help 250 children lift themselves out of poverty and into brighter futures.
The tea farmers in Sylhet perform intense physical labor for extremely little pay. Along with the heartbreaking living conditions, these hard-working parents struggle to afford the necessities for their children. Education is little more than a dream. However, your bountiful generosity has been changing this area over the years!
Catholic World Mission and the Diocese of Sylhet have collaborated over the years to provide two primary schools in the area with the resources and support they need. The schools teach children in their native languages and provide extracurricular activities that enrich the children’s lives. Best of all, they train the children in the Catholic faith, teaching them values, leadership, and responsibility. Very few Catholics live in the Sylhet area, but the Indigenous peoples — especially children — are eager to hear the Word of God.
“[The children] feel happy when they come to school. These children need continuous support to complete their primary education and future growth of their life.” – Father Jacob J. Finney, OMI, the Sylhet Catholic Diocese, Bangladesh
YOU gave the tea farmers and their families support during the flooding that provided them with the basic necessities to survive. As they continue to recover from the natural disaster, they are especially grateful for your generosity.” The diocese is doing everything it can to take this community forward with limited resources. Your generosity will truly make a difference in the lives of many hard-working and devoted families.
“We thank God for our generous donors who are journeying with us to bring a better future for these poor and deprived children.” – Father Jacob J. Finney, OMI, the Sylhet Catholic Diocese, Bangladesh
Any amount you give will combine with the gifts of your fellow Catholic World Mission supporters to ensure that 250 children of Sylhet have the opportunity to complete their education and break the cycle of poverty.
“We always pray for you, and our children continuously pray for their benefactors,” Diocese of Sylhet Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes says. “We hope and believe that you will continue to support us for the year 2023 so that we may offer this pastoral care to our underprivileged children.”
Give again today and help them know the Lord and reach their full potential.
END OF APRIL 2023 CAMPAIGN
Catholic Charity Work In Bangladesh
Bangladesh won its independence from West Pakistan in 1971, and is governed by a parliamentary republic style of government. Bangladesh is the eighth-most-populous country in the world, and is slightly smaller than Iowa. It’s located between India and Myanmar (Burma), and in 2017, saw a major influx of refugees from Myanmar as a result of religious persecution there. Most Bangladeshis are Muslim (89.1%), while 10% are Hindu, and just 0.9% identify as “other,” which includes Buddhists and Christians.
Read through the tabs below to learn more about the ways you can bring hope by donating to Catholic charity work in Bangladesh and change the lives of hundreds of people
Tea Kids: Give Education to Tea Farmers’ Children
Tea workers are one of South Asia’s most deprived communities in terms of fair wages, access to education, healthcare, nutrition, and other basic human needs.
At first glance, the lush greenery of the tea plantations of Bangladesh seems beautiful. “This is God’s country,” you might think if you ever visit there. But life in these tea plantations has a dark underside, and a closer look reveals deep suffering.
Tea laborers work long hours plucking, carrying, and weighing tea leaves. They earn only $1.00 USD per day.
When they go home at night, it’s to residences called “labor lines”—row upon row of tiny mud-and-aluminum huts, where they live with their families. The labor line huts have only one or two rooms, no running water, and limited access to clean water and sanitation. Disease runs rampant.
Most tea laborers are illiterate. Many of them were born in the tea plantation and have lived their whole lives there. They’ve never had access to quality education—tea plantations don’t provide good schools because students might get big ideas, and dream of a better life, and leave the tea garden.
Tea workers are given no rights, no benefits, and while they do receive a wage, it is only $1.00 USD per day! They aren’t allowed to unionize or bargain for better working conditions. Tea workers are one of South Asia’s most deprived communities in terms of fair wages, access to education, healthcare, nutrition, and other basic human needs.
Click through images from Bangladesh’s tea gardens, below:
Bonnya, 7, is the youngest child in her family. Her mom and dad are both tea laborers. In the community where she lives, people have been working in the tea gardens for 170 years, generation to generation.
Bonnya dreams of escaping the poverty of the tea plantations and when she grows up, she wants to serve her country by working as a police officer to help make Bangladesh a better, safer place.
Jahir, 8, is also the youngest child in his family. Seven family members live together in Jahir’s tiny labor line hut: Jahir, one brother, one sister, two parents, and two grandparents. While both of his parents are illiterate, Jahir’s dad, Maramali, works as a tea laborer and his mom is a homemaker.
Jahir wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
8-year-old Agnes is in 2nd grade today, thanks to your support. Her dad is a tea laborer, and his $1 daily wage is all the family of four has to survive on. She dreams of being a doctor, and it’s only through your generosity that this dream may one day come true! Her parents never got to go to school, so they can’t read or write, and their only hope for their daughter to have a better life is the school you’re helping to support.
Shipa is 12 and dreams of being an engineer one day. Both of her parents work in the same tea farm, earning just $1 per day. On Sundays, the only day he has off from the tea farm, Shipa’s dad sells firewood at the local market to make extra money for the family to live on. Shipa has 5 siblings, so the extra income is necessary. Thanks to you, Shipa gets to go to school, and her dream of one day being an engineer is closer every day.
Swadhin, 12, is a first-generation learner. He and his brother are the first two in his family to ever get to go to school! Swadhin dreams of becoming a doctor one day because he knows he can help the sick. In his short life, he’s seen so much illness. His family lives in a mud hut with a tin roof, with no running water or plumbing. His parents, both tea laborers, can’t afford nutritious food or clean water, so Swadhin, his brother, and his parents are often sick. Swadhin has big dreams for himself, and so does his mom: “I want to see my son become a doctor, but more than anything, I want to see him grow to be a good human being, happy, and well salaried, so that he doesn’t lack anything when he grows up.”
The Catholic Church is stepping in to fight this systemic poverty and provide quality education to Bonnya and others like her.
The Diocese of Sylhet, Bonnya’s local Catholic diocese, has committed as much funding as possible to help educate the children of tea laborers. The Church has provided a school building, qualified teachers, materials, food, and the love of God to these little ones.
Without the Church’s involvement in these communities, Bonnya and countless others wouldn’t be able to attend school. Maramali, little Jahir’s father and a tea laborer, tells us, “Garden management doesn’t help with education. Only missionary support can help my child go to school.”
“Garden management doesn’t help with education. Only missionary support can help my child go to school.” – Maramali, tea laborer and father
Bangladesh’s Catholic population is small—less than 1% of Bangladeshis are Christian!—and the local diocese is very poor. The diocese is giving all the funds it can to the tea plantation schools, but they need help.
Catholic World Mission has committed to partner with the diocese in support of these schools for three years, because we know how generous you are and how heroically you support efforts to rescue God’s beloved children from crushing poverty.
Photos from some of the missionary-run schools for tea children:
Bonnya and Jahir are now in 5th Grade
Today, Bonnya and Jahir are in the 5th Grade. Thanks to your support over the last two years, they are still in school and receiving a high-quality Catholic education.
Bonnya still dreams of one day working as a police officer, and bringing safety to her community. Jahir’s dream of becoming a doctor is also alive and well.
Thanks to your support, Bonnya, Jahir, and 150 other children are two years closer to making their dreams come true.
Thank you for supporting education in Bangladesh.
$67.12 covers one student for 1 year
$268.48 sends 4 students to school for 1 year
$536.96 sends 8 students to school for 1 year
$805.44 sends 12 students to school for 1 year
$1,006.8 sends 15 students to school for 1 year
Click the green Give now button to give the gift of education to these amazing children.
CWM would like to congratulate His Excellency the Most Reverend Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes on his appointment of Bishop of Sylhet. Catholic World Mission looks forward to continuing its partnership with the Diocese of Sylhet in Bangladesh to empower the poor and share the Gospel of Christ.
We are overjoyed to celebrate with the newly appointed Archbishop of Dhaka, our very own partner, Archbishop Bejoy D’Cruze!
Archbishop D’Cruze has been our partner in Bangladesh since the very beginning. He’s been instrumental in our support of the Tea Kids and Bottomley Home Orphanage.
We also want to extend our best wishes and deepest gratitude to Cardinal D’Rozario on the occasion of his retirement. Thank you, Cardinal, for your years of service!
Click here to read the Vatican’s press release announcing Archbishop D’Cruze’s appointment.
Cardinal D’Rozario (center).
Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze (now the new Archbishop) and Archbishop Thomas Meenaparabil, retired archbishop of Jowai, India (center) and Deacon Rick Medina (right)
Bishop Bejoy, now Archbishop of Dhaka(right) and two missionary priests.
Faith amidst the Floods
Flooded and underwater
Millions of men, women, and children are suffering from the ongoing torrential monsoon rains that have occurred in Bangladesh this year. These rains have caused 90% of the region to become flooded and underwater. Families including Nurjahan’s are experiencing heartbreaking circumstances completely out of their control as they lack food, potable water, and shelter. YOU can send life-saving aid to 400 families in the Diocese of Sylhet as they lack the necessities to survive. Your kindness and generosity have helped them in the past, and they need our relief now more than ever.
We can make a difference in the lives of many in the Jaflong, Khadim, Mugaipar, and Rajai areas, including Nurjahan’s family. When the floods came, her family, including her gravely ill husband, lost everything and became homeless. She painfully depicts seeing a wall of water rush through their bamboo home in northeastern Bangladesh as the flood disintegrated it. Not only did they lose their home, but they also lost nearby roads and crops essential for transportation and survival. Nurjahan and her family solely survived by selling and bartering chickens and ducks as the floodwaters began to subside in the following weeks, but that source of income has run dry. The Diocese has given aid to her family, but their resources are not enough to care for the hundreds of displaced families who have been affected by the flooding.
As we have fostered hope and change in the Diocese of Sylhet, we can continue to support them during this difficult time as they face life-threatening conditions due to the floods. We hope to provide urgent relief for400 families who are in dire need of food, water, and medicines in the Jaflong, Khadim, Mugaipar, and Rajai areas. Join us as we stand with these families by giving them life-saving essentials and displaying true servants’ hearts in their time of need.
Bountiful Blessings in Bangladesh
Your abundant generosity has given the children of tea farmers in Bangladesh a chance to pursue a quality Catholic education! In 2022, the students and teachers were able to have opportunities including:
- Receiving schoolbooks, notebooks, and other educational materials.
- Extra math and English classes for students with special needs.
- Religion classes along with music and singing classes
- Two organized parent meetings during the school year
- Salaries for the dedicated teachers in the Diocese of Sylhet
Unfortunately, Bangladesh experienced intense flooding last year and the Diocese of Sylhet was impacted. Schools became flooded and underwater, students and their families lost everything, and many suffered from sickness. We were able to collaborate with the Diocese of Sylhet and provide food, clothes, education, and a medical camp to 1900 families under four civil districts in Sylhet Division and 6 parishes in the Diocese.
“With a grateful heart, we sincerely thank our kind and generous donors for their contribution for the school going children of Sylhet Diocese.”– Fr. Jacob Finney, OMI. Procurator, the Sylhet Catholic Diocese
Thank you for providing aid and support to Bangladesh during their time of need!
Bottomley Home Girls’ Orphanage
Located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bottomley Home provides a safe place for 130 girls to grow up. According to Orphan Trust, these girls would “otherwise be living in the streets, battling for survival.”
Instead, they grow up in the safety and protection offered by the Associates of Mary, Queen of Apostles (SMRA), a women’s religious order that operates the orphanage and runs the associated school.
Bottomley was orginally a school, but at the end of World War II, it also became an orphanage to serve the many children whose parents were killed.
The sisters continue the important mission of raising, forming, and educating young women to this day. Many of the girls go on to hold careers as teachers or nurses.
After visiting Bangladesh and Bottomley Home last December, our Executive Director, Deacon Rick Medina, made sure to include these amazing girls in our yearly Christmas Miracle program. For the last several years, this program has provided food for children in the Indian subcontinent.
Thanks to your generous support of this program, we were able to provide meat and eggs for a special Christmas meal, as well as beautiful new dresses for the girls to wear.
Thank you for making Christmas 2017 truly a Christmas to remember for the orphans and sisters. Click the “How You Can Help” tab below to give to the 2018 Christmas Miracle fund for Bottomley Home.
Check out the photos of Bottomley Home’s Christmas celebration below!
It is only thanks to your ongoing generosity that these girls received new dresses and a special Christmas meal this past holiday season.
Click the green “Give Now” button to send a gift to the girls of Bottomley Home. Your donation will feed them, clothe them, and help the sisters give them a high-quality education.
Give today to bring hope to these deserving girls all year long!
Nursing Patients & Dreams
Your selfless giving has supported ten nursing students enrolled at St. Mary’s Catholic Nursing Institute in Bangladesh to be able to continue their studies! This nursing school, along with the St. Mary’s Mother and Child Care Hospital, is run by the SMRA Sisters in Tumilia, Gazipur area. These first-year students are abundantly grateful for your contributions toward their education and are eager to aid their surrounding community and pave the path out of poverty!
Deacon Rick Visits Bangladesh
Pope Francis visited Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2017. His visit was in response to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, which killed thousands of people and caused thousands more to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. During his visit, Pope Francis preached equality and human dignity, and forgiveness. While the Rohingya have technically begun to return to Myanmar in the months since the pope’s visit, most of them remain in Bangladesh. We continue to pray for a peaceful resolution in both countries.
Our own executive director, Deacon Rick Medina, got to travel to Bangladesh during Pope Francis’ visit. He was joined by Danny Sequeira, Catholic World Mission partner. It was a blessed and fruitful trip, and opened the door for Catholic World Mission to help support the Church in Bangladesh.
Read a full article about Deacon Rick’s trip in the Georgia Bulletin, originally published on December 21, 2017.
Visit the “Photos” tab to see more pictures from Deacon Rick’s trip to Bangladesh!