In Bangladesh, 90% of the population are Muslim while less than 10% are Buddhist, Hindu and 3% Christian. The Chittagong Hill Tracts, in the South Eastern part of Bangladesh, consists of tribal communities (Marma, Chakma, Tripura, Mru, Kheyung, Chak, Bawn, etc…). The primary religions in these areas are Buddhism and Animism - the worship of animals, stones, trees, and water. Religion plays a large part in the people’s culture and heritage.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts are faced with many challenges that have resulted in an impoverished people due to the poor weather conditions and housing structures. The Hill Tracts face yearly devastation of abundant rain, flooding, and mudslides resulting in a loss of homes, crops, and lives.
After being approached by a group of concerned young men from the tribes about the well-being and future of their people, we visited the villages in order to understand the conditions they were living in.
Founded in January of 2017, CLAP Bangladesh began meeting the basic food and educational needs of 20 orphaned children representing one of the 2000 villages found in the Hill Tracts. In partnership with a few interested people from Canada, this tribal team seeks continual guidance and wisdom in moving forward in this growing work.
By May 2017, Canadian Leadership Assistance Program (CLAP) became a registered not-for-profit Canadian Society with a Board of 6 Directors as well as a team from the Chittagong Hill Tracts area of Bangladesh serving on the ground in the villages.
“There are many people in the Hill Tracts who still don’t have any scope for education to live in a standard life. So after completing my degree in university I thought that I need to do something to help them.”
— Director of CLAP