Alleviate suffering. Illuminate the mind. Ignite the Spirit.
Date: 
April 7, 2018
Pillar: 

"I Want to Serve My Country": Help Bonnya Reach Her Dreams

Bonnya, 7, lives on a tea plantation in Bangladesh. When she grows up, she dreams of serving her country as a police officer and making it a better, safer place. The odds are stacked against her because of the deep poverty her family lives in. But you can be her key to freedom.

Bangladesh - Bonnya, 7

 

 

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 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.

Be the key to freedom from poverty for Bangladesh's tea children

 

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.

 

Jahir, 8, stands in front of his family's labor line hut This stream is the labor lines' only source of water, and it serves as drinking water, bath water, and sewer. Bangladesh - Tea laborers work under hard conditions, earn only $1USD per day, and are given no bargaining rights or hope that conditions will change Bangladesh - The schools that the Diocese of Sylhet are the only chance for the "tea children" to receive a quality education because tea farm management does little to help educate the children.

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.

Big dreams are the one thing that would destroy tea plantation culture.

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.

Without your help, this will be Bonnya's future.

But the good news is, there is something you can do about the injustices the tea laborers face.Give now to fight poverty in Bangladesh's tea farms

Knowledge is Power: Give Tea Children Access to Quality Education

Bangladesh - Bonnya, 7, learns to read

 

Only 25% of children living on Bangladesh’s tea farms go to school.

Tea plantation management provides access to primary school for the children of their employees. But the schools are poorly equipped and teachers are unqualified. Parents cannot afford school supplies, text books, or exam fees, much less clothing and nutritious food for their children.

But the Catholic Church is stepping in to fight this systemic poverty and provide quality education to Bonnya and others like her.

“Garden management doesn’t help with education. Only missionary support can help my child go to school.” – Marmali, Tea Plantation Dad and Laborer

 

Give Now So Bonnya Can Keep Going to SchoolA closer look at the Diocese of Sylhet, home to most of Bangladesh's tea farms

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. Marmali, a tea laborer and father, tells us, “Garden management doesn’t help with education. Only missionary support can help my child go to school.”

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.

 

$25,051 will support the education of 125 children for the next three years

Give now so Bangladeshi children can go to school$25,051 will educate 125 children and provide a salary for five qualified teachers.

Here are some helpful figures:

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

As with all of our efforts, we ask that before you give, please pray for Bonnya, her classmates, her teachers, her school, and her family. Pray for Bonnya, that her goals of becoming a police officer and serving her country will be realized. Pray that she grows up big and strong, and that she can escape the poverty of the tea gardens and build a better life for herself.

And when that’s done, we hope that you’ll allow yourself to be an instrument of God’s providence and give to this amazing school. Give Bonnya a fighting chance to chase her dreams.

Click any of the green "Give Now" buttons on this page to make a life-changing gift for Bonnya and her fellow tea kids.

Please, donate today.

Give Bonnya a fighting chance to chase her dreams by clicking this button and giving now.

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Learn more about our projects in Bangladesh here.