Bangladesh: Supporting a school

(Fotos: Chittagong Hill Tracts, Moanoghar)

Report 2023


Together with Buddhist Global Relief, Mitgefühl in Aktion e.V. supports a state-approved school in Moanoghar, which was founded in 1974 by Buddhist monks to provide disadvantaged and marginalized children with education and thus a better perspective for the future. 


In 2023, the school has a total of 1139 students, 783 of whom live on site in the school's own dormitories. In this year, the goal was achieved that the student body for the first time is composed of equal numbers of boys and girls, both in the school and in the dormitories. Today, 52% of the student body are girls; a great achievement in a country where girls in particular are still often forced to drop out of school early.


Run by a local non-profit organization, this school offers primary and secondary education, as well as health care, technical and vocational training opportunities, indigenous language and culture opportunities, and programs to support income generation and socio-economic development.


These include the agricultural program "Model Hill Farming for improving access to education of Moanoghar Children." This project is a continuation and expansion of the previous agricultural project from the previous year, which was also supported by Compassion in Action.


With the help of your support, a total of 500 cashew trees as well as 170 banana and 100 papaya plants could be planted in 2022, and various vegetables such as pigeon peas, chilies, tomatoes and leafy greens could be grown to supplement the school children's meals. Together with the purchase of foodstuffs such as rice, it was thus possible to ensure the supply of food for the children and continue their school attendance even during the Corona pandemic, during which many people were unable to secure a livelihood for their families.


In addition, a new tree nursery was established in which 5,000 cashew seedlings were grown. These will be distributed to the students' guardians so that they can also plant cashew gardens on their own land in the region. With this long-term and sustainable source of income, the mountain farmers in the region will also be able to feed their families in the future and support the education of their children.


In addition to this, practical knowledge in the areas of food, agriculture and agricultural processing was taught to the students.


The successes and results of this project are now to be continued and consolidated in 2023.

This follow-up project is also aimed at covering the immediate food needs of the students by growing various types of vegetables and offering midday meals for the schoolchildren, in order to enable them to continue attending school, and at creating income opportunities in terms of sustainability, in order to be able to continue offering sustainable educational opportunities to the disadvantaged children of Moanoghar.


For this purpose, with regard to the tree nursery that has been in existence since 2022, it is planned to expand it further and to graft the cashew seedlings of the local variety with higher-yielding varieties. Fences are also needed to protect the already established cashew plantation.


In addition, offering food and beverage production (F&BP) training will improve the students' chances of becoming self-employed in the tourism industry or starting their own small food business. The school has already received government approval to offer an F&BP trade course.

On the one hand, of course, the students benefit from this agricultural program in a direct way, as they receive a daily lunch and can nutritionally supplement their diet with the fruits and vegetables they grow and put into practice the knowledge acquired in the agricultural training courses and the skills development training courses on food and beverage production (F&BP), but indirectly, of course, the staff employed to grow vegetables, build fences and the like, and the training courses, as well as their family members.


Thus, at least 1573 people benefit directly and indirectly from this sustainable agricultural project, which Mitgefühl in Aktion e.V. gladly continues to support and hereby invests in the education and future of the school children and their families.


Please help with YOUR donation, so that children can attend school in Moanoghar and herewith a way into a secure future through education.


Thank you very much for your support. 

Text: Dr. Andrea Wilden 


(Source: Jährlicher Fortschrittsbericht über ein Modell der Berglandwirtschaft zur Verbesserung des Zugangs der Kinder zu Bildung in Moanoghar - Berichtszeitraum: Juli 2021 bis Juni 2022)

10th grade field trip to Karnafuli Paper Mills in Chandraghona and Chittagong Patenga beach on 23.02.2023

(Source: Moanoghar News Bulletin January - March 2023)

The Moanoghar School Team won the Hill Districts' Debating Competition in January 2023 and was presented with the trophy by Minister Bir Bahadur U Shwe Shing (Source: Moanoghar News Bulletin January - March 2023)

Short Report 2022


With our Bangladesh project we support a school in Moanoghar. Recently we received the following message, which also includes a report on the Corona situation in Bangladesh:


"The Covid 19 pandemic has affected us in many ways. Throughout the country, all educational institutions have remained closed since March 17th 2020 until today. We had expected that school operations would resume this month, but then suddenly the second wave of Covid-19 began. As of April 5, we were back in lockdown. The government has announced a complete lockdown across the country from April 14. Every day the number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities is increasing, with an average of over 6,000 Covid-19 cases reported last week. Since last year, a total of 684,756 cases of Covid-19 infections have been reported nationwide, of which 7,279 have died.


Some individuals in our neighboring regions have also been infected with Covid-19. So far, we are safe in Moanoghar, and no one has been infected. But the lockdown has far-reaching implications for us and for the children's education. We are trying our best to deal with this situation."


The lockdown of educational institutions from April 2020, referred to in this message, lasted 18 months and was one of the longest worldwide. The government decided to do so because the country has neither significant testing capacities nor a healthcare system that is remotely comparable to ours. During the lockdown period, the general social climate in the country worsened. Only a small part of the schoolchildren and students were able to make use of online services offered by the educational institutions.


Text: Olivia Haas 

Bericht 2021


As another aid project, we as "Mitgefuehl in Aktion e.V." have decided to support a school for poor children in Moanoghar, Bangladesh, which is run by a local non-profit organisation in the village of Rangamati, with the help of Buddhist monks. Our project director writes:


Nila is a 12-year-old girl, originally from Moanoghar, who had a dream of once being able to attend a proper school. In her homeland in Bangladesh, a country in East Asia that is regularly hit by great floods, about 165 million people struggle to survive economically, often facing great difficulties. 60 million children in Bangladesh, including girls like Nila, want to be able to laugh, play, learn and do many things like all the world's children.


Nila is lucky in a sense, because after fleeing the region's war zones, she and her parents stranded in the Cittagong Hill Tracts, a region in the far southeast of Bangladesh. Her parents have struggled to provide food daily, by offering unskilled labor and farming on a small piece of land. The family as such is very poor, with a total of 7 children. Nevertheless, Nila is very happy now because she can go to school in Moanoghar. Two of her siblings are still on the waiting list for a school placement.


In Bangladesh, many children (about 6 million) cannot attend school. Nila is one child who can. 

She was very happy when the list of new school children was posted at the end of the vacations in Moanoghar.


Nila's dream came finally true with her first day at school. In addition to her place in her new class, there was another huge surprise waiting for her: For the first time in her life, Nila and the 80 other children each had access to a real bed, a table, a chair and a bookshelf of their own.


You have to understand that in Bangladesh, children love going to school, they feel very happy when they are allowed to do so. However, in many schools there is only very basic equipment. The most important things are often missing. For example, there are no school desks. These are often only available for the taller students, while most children simply have to sit together on the floor or on benches that are far too small for them. That is why aid organizations such as Buddhist Global Relief (BGR) from the USA and Mitgefuehl in Aktion (MiA) from Germany help with donations to pay for furniture and to secure the running costs of the school, because the official subsidies from the state school authorities are sadly far from being sufficient for the running of the school.


The school in Moanoghar has existed since the end of the civil war in 1974, when Buddhist monks collected aid money and founded the "Moanoghar Peace School". 

Right from the beginning, their aim was to enable particularly disenfranchised children to attend school.


Today, 1250 boys and girls attend the state-approved school. There one now finds an active parents' council and intensive teacher training. The latter is very important, because there are often 50 or more children in a single classroom, a challenge for any educator. The school itself is organised according to the three-shift system, which means that each classroom is used three times a day by different classes.


This school also makes an important contribution towards enabling peace and reconciliation efforts in the region. The Buddhist monks who founded the school in 1974 still take great care to facilitate peaceful and religiously tolerant behaviour. For the girls from often extremely remote regions, there is the opportunity of finding accommodation in one of eight boarding schools, a common institution for school children in Bangladesh. Here the girls also learn to deal with each other's sometimes very different backgrounds.


The societies from which these children come are heavily dominated by men, which is why promoting girls and women is of particular importance here. Due to the fact that in Bangladesh it is mostly girls who have to drop out of school prematurely, special attention and care is given to the female students in Moanoghar, in order to give them a more secure future through education. 


In addition to the primary and secondary school, Moanoghar offers additional important "pillars": In the spirit of helping people to help themselves, a bakery and an agricultural program have been set up, contributing to the project's self-financing efforts. Furthermore, 45,000 coffee bushes, vegetable seedlings, fruit and cashew tree nurseries as well as bushes for erosion control were planted by parents and teachers. In addition to this, students are taught basic skills from various trades: tailoring, carpentry, agribusiness and food processing.


Basic healthcare has been established and vaccinations against Covid 19 have been organized and administered. Moanoghar is an exceptional teaching facility, because in addition to school education and basic medical care, peace and reconciliation work is also carried out here.


The school in Moanoghar has been working successfully with our partner organization, BGR, for over 10 years. During the last few years, BGR was able to build a new dormitory and implement an agricultural programme to meet the immediate nutritional needs of the children there. Especially the agricultural program is very close to our hearts and will be supported by us this year. Mitgefühl in Aktion is committed to these projects in order to secure the basic needs of the children and their families and to invest in the agricultural training of the young people in the spirit of helping them to help themselves.


With YOUR donation you will help children from poorer families in Bangladesh to have a more secure future through school education in a school in Moanoghar. Please use our donation account for one-time transfers and the donation form for regular donations. On behalf of the project, we thank you for your generous support.

*Names changed for privacy reasons

Text: Karl Wirtz/Raimund Hopf