Education Projects @
Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh
CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS, BANGLADESH
Visakha School @
Chittagong Hill Tracts
destroyed by tornado on 20-March 2008
started giving the light of education to deprived children in
Dhoshri and the surrounding villages in 2006.
It is one of the most isolated and hard-to- reach outskirt
villages in Manikchari Thana in the District of Khargarchari,
Khagrachari is one of the three districts in the Chittagong
Hill Tracts located in the south eastern part of Bangladesh
along the Burmese border. Historically, it is a tribal region whose
population is comprised mostly, until recently, by 14 different
tribes with very distinct languages and cultural heritages from the
rest of Bangladesh.
It may be considered one of the poorest parts of already very
poor Bangladeshi landscape.
At Dhoshri, the families are extremely poor, and most
children never before had the chance to attend school like the Visakha School.
Without any doubt, it is creating hopes and dreams in the
minds of local elders and children alike. It is hard to reach and
provide the much needed help in those parts of Bangladesh, but when we consider
helping those who needed most, this is a perfect opportunity.
Remote location of the school makes harder to deal with but
the joy and happiness it brings to us for every little good thing is
The School Project:
Visakha School project was initiated by local
elders with the help of dedicated volunteers.
A nice piece of land was donated by a local family.
The local elders labored building the wooden and bamboos
structure and Jamyang Foundation (thanks to Rev. Dr. Tsomo) donated
money for corrugated roofing material and furniture for class rooms.
Mong Sano Marma, Ph.D. currently working as a scientist in Boston, USA
and Ven. Obasha Bhikkhu both from the Chittagong Hill Tracts served
as the coordinators. It
started with a single class (Grade-1, 2006) and each year one new
class is added and currently (2008) three classes are running
serving a total of about 60 girl students.
Local families and children are delighted seeing the
opportunities at their door steps that they never had in their
lives. Most of the
children now studying at
School are the first
generation in their families to receive a formal education. The
curriculum includes Bengali, English, and Math as prescribed by the Bangladesh government. The students
will be eligible to take government standard exams. Currently, the
school employs three teachers who teach regularly at the school and
reach out to local families.
They are from the neighboring villages, and speak the same
local languages as the students.
In 2006, Visakha School
began with 38 girls and two teachers who are from neighboring
villages. Currently (2008), 56 girls are attending the school and
three teachers teach them regularly. Since its beginning, Jamyang
Foundation supported by paying salaries to teachers and bearing the
other expanses. In 2007, Dr. Mong Sano Marma, a chemist from
Singhinala Village (about 30 km away) and now living in Boston, paid
text and note books for children and other necessary office
supplies. And this year (2008) he provided school uniforms for all
Future Plans for Visakha School:
Despite the fact that the local family members
helped enormously and supported with hearts and souls to have this
school, its condition is still very bad and fragile due to building
with locally available raw materials such as bamboos and low quality
woods. They simply
donít afford for further upgrading the school house.
This year (2008), the school was severely damaged by a
tornado. Local families
again helped to re-build just barely enough for continuing
instructions, leaving vulnerable for further damage in the monsoon
I had email
contact after the tornado hit with Firefly Mission, and I really
appreciate the kind of sympathy and support I received from Firefly
Mission official and its members.
I took sometime figuring out the cost for re-building the
school that will be more stable and resistant to future damage.
To make cost proposal reasonable and accurate while having a
school proposal that would not require major investments in the near
future, I requested helps from friends who are living in Bangladesh and have experiences with
Local volunteers also approached an engineer who is working in the
local government office.
I have already shared the plan quite sometime ago; it was just a
hand drawing. I
have received another plan which is nicer and more like the plan
that Firefly Mission helped in Burma.
plan is attached in the following page. It has a school building
with 5 class rooms, and 1 office space for teachers, and 2 rooms
toilet in a separate structure.
Each room of the school is 20 X 18 ft and will be made of
bricks and cements with iron enforcements.
We are holding the design in AutoCAD file for enlarged
printing for construction.
Based on the three different proposals, I think that
following plan should be accepted and it could be built with the
expense of Tk. 12 lakhs in Bangladesh
currency, which is equivalent to about $ 17,000 USD.
This proposed cost is quite higher, because in the last 1-2
years the prices of bricks, cement and iron rods had shot up 2-3
school proposal in pdf format
school plan in pdf format
Report - Visakha School
photo of old school before &
update: January 2009
Ven Dr Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Director, Jamyang Foundation
Theology & Religious Studies
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
Dr Mong Sano Marma (Bathowai), Ph.D.
Intelligent Bio-Systems, Inc, MA, USA
Visakha Moitri Mohila Foundaton
Village Manikchari Sadar
P.S. + P.O. Manikchari