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Catholic Charity Work In Bangladesh

Population:  157,826,578

Percent Below Poverty Line:  31.5%

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. Pope Francis visited in December 2017, and our own Deacon Rick Medina was able to visit at the same time! 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

Bangladesh - Stats for the Diocese of Sylhet and Bangladesh tea farms

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:

Bottomley Home Girls’ Orphanage

Bangladesh - Deacon Rick Medina, CWM Executive Director, pictured with Sister Hima, SMRA, and residents of Bottomley Home Girls' Orphanage

Located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bottomley Home provides a safe place for 140 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.

Deacon Rick Visits Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Deacon Rick Medina, CWM Executive Director, and Danny Sequeira, CWM partner, present Cardinal D'Rozario of Bangladesh with a new chalice and paten.

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!

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