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Salesians offer free education to students from Garo Tribe

A Salesian-run hostel has been an oasis of hope for the 60 odd boys, mainly Garo tribals (locally called 'Mandi') from the Utrail and Telunjia areas.
Garo boys at the Salesian hostel. (Photo: Supplied)

2021 has been a challenging year for poor communities in Bangladesh.

A Salesian-run hostel has been an oasis of hope for the 60 odd boys, mainly Garo tribals (locally called 'Mandi') from the Utrail and Telunjia areas.

Boys staying in the Salesian-run Blessed Zepherino Hostel in the Utrail-Telunjia community of Bangladesh received support from donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

The boys come from poor backgrounds and their parents are daily labourers who work to earn enough money each day to buy food. Other boys are abandoned or orphaned.

Salesians offer help for room and board or provide it free of charge for those in need. The hostel relies on donor funding to help fill the gaps in funding, according to a Misionwire report.

Some ten years ago, the Salesians came to Bangladesh and were assigned to Utrail in the diocese of Mymensingh. It is situated in the Netrokona civil district, 55 KM to the north of the city of Mymensingh. Netrokona is one of the more underdeveloped districts in Bangladesh.

Some boys living at the hostel are studying at the Salesian St. Xavier's School. Once they pass eighth grade, they can continue to grade 12 at the Salesian High School and College. Every year, the Salesian hostel hosts 50 to 60 boys.

Father Dang Lam, a Salesian missionary in charge of the hostel, says, "Many parents want to send their children to the Salesian hostel because they know that their children will receive a good education in our school and Christian human formation in the hostel."

Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries with 164 million people, close to 20 percent of whom live below the national poverty line of USD 2.00 per day. An estimated 36 percent of the rural population lives below the poverty line, owns no land or assets, experiences persistent food insecurity, and often has very little education.

Bangladesh suffers from poor infrastructure, political instability, corruption and insufficient power supplies. Close to 80 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas. Many people who live in remote and rural areas lack access to education, health care and adequate roads


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