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 to Bangladesh and change the lives of hundreds of people.

Tea Kids: Give Education to Tea Farmers’ Children

About

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:

Meet the Tea Kids

Bonnya

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

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.

Diocesan Schools

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:

Updates

This is a brand new project, so no updates yet. We’ll be sure to let you know when there’s news!

How You Can Help

To educate 125 children for the next three years, and pay five qualified teachers, will cost $25,051. That’s just $200.40 per child!

Your dollars will truly go the distance with this project!

$33.36 pays for all of a student’s school costs for six months
$66.80 provides a student with textbooks, school supplies, uniforms, and shoes for a whole year
$200.40 pays for all costs for one student for three years
$601.20 completely pays for three children to go to school for three years!

Click the green Give now button below to give the gift of education to these amazing children.

Bottomley Home Girls’ Orphanage

About

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.

Christmas Cheer

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! 

Updates

This is a new project, so no updates yet. Be sure to check back often for the latest news!

How You Can Help

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 at Christmas and all year long!

Deacon Rick Visits Bangladesh

Papal Visit

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!

Photos!
Take a look at some of the incredible photos from Deacon Rick Medina’s December 2017 trip to Bangladesh below:
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