ECDO organized the International day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples-2016 in Sylhet jointly with the Committee of Concern Citizen (CCC), Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Bangladesh on 9 August 2016. At the beginning of the event a rally was arranged in the city and after that rally a discussion session was held in front of the Central Shaheed Minar, Sylhet. The discussion session was chaired by Mr. Aziz Ahmed Selim, vice president, CCC, Sylhet. Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director, ECDO delivered welcome speech at the beginning of the discussion session and Ms. Nongpoklai Sinha, Project Coordinator of ECDO made concept note paper presentation on the theme of the event. Advocate Irfanuzzaman Chowdhury, President of CCC, Sylhet, Advocate Emad Ullah Shahidul Islam, ex-president, Sylhet disctrict bar association and CCC member, Sylhet, Advocate Mohit Lal Dhar, President, Human Rights Defenders Forum, Mr. Anil Kishan Singha, cultural activist, S. Rina Devi, Indigenous women leader, Mr. Samendra Singha, member, HRD, Mr. Enayet Hasan Manik, CCC member, Mr. Komal Khisha Saha, Area Manager TIB, Sylhet, Mr. Milon Oraon, member of Human Rights Defender forum delivered their speeches. In the discussion session indigenous peoples and civil society members claimed to the government to establish right to education in mother tongue for indigenous children as per national education policy. They also demand to full fill all other rights of indigenous peoples on the aspect of national and international law. They urged to the government to establish a separate plain land indigenous peoples land commission and a separate ministry of plain land indigenous peoples to address the existing problems of plain land indigenous peoples as well as CHT indigenous peoples. At the end of the session the chair Mr. Aziz Ahmed Selim thanks to all participants including civil society members and media personnel for making the event successful with their valuable presence. All local and national print and electronic media was coverage the event very well.
Mr. Ivar Munthe, project advisor and Ms. Eva Nasheim board member of HEI VERDEN, Norway visited ECDO project area from 12-14 February 2016. They visited Alaibahar, Doldoli Education Support Centre (ESC) in Sylhet and Manipuri Language Centre (MLC) at Kamalgonj, Moulvibazar. It should be mentioned that ECDO is implementing ‘Promoting Education and Mother Tongue of Indigenous Children’ project with support from HEI VERDEN, Norway. Under this project ECDO is providing education support to the Khasi, Patro, Manipuri and tea labor indigenous primary students.
To ensure primary education for indigenous children ECDO is taking various measures under this project. Education Support Centre (ESC) and Manipuri Language Centre (MLC) activities become very popular among the local indigenous community within very short time. At ESC Patro, Khasi and tea-labor indigenous children are getting the opportunity to learn their school lesson from their own mother tongue speaking teacher; early in the morning before starting their mainstream school. The specialty of this ESC is that indigenous children learn their lessons through bi-lingual process in this centre. At first every lesson is uttered in Bengali and later the indigenous teacher make it understand to the ESC students through their own indigenous language. In this process indigenous children learn their lesson very easily which is written in Bengali.
On the other hand at Manipuri Language Centre (MLC) Manipuri children are learning to read and write the Manipuri language through their own script. In these centres Manipuri children are learning English and Mathematics also along with Manipuri language. As a result now both ESC and MLC students are doing very good performance at their mainstream school. ECDO provides all necessary education materials like; school bags, school uniforms, umbrella, note books, pen etc. Overall the main aims and objectives of the project are as follows;
- Ensuring quality primary education for indigenous children.
- Develop language skills for young Manipuri generation, whilst preserving and promoting Manipuri culture.
- Integrating bilingual teaching-learning processes into mainstream primary education,
- Reducing the drop-out rate and increasing overall performance of indigenous children at primary school, and
- Develop year wise three different Manipuri Text Book for using in the Manipuri Language Centre as Text Book.
During the visit of HEI VERDEN representatives they have visited the above project area. They were also present school uniform distribution program at Alaibahar and Doldoli Education Support Centre (ESC) during their visit and interact with the local community and local government representatives. They were very much delighted to see the success of the education activities under this project.
Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO) and Oxfam jointly organized two day long Manipuri Handloom exposition on 25-26 June 2015 at Mohammad Ali Gymnasium Hall, Rikabibazar, Sylhet. The exposition was organized under Women Economic Leadership (WEL) project with support from Oxfam. General Manager (GM) of Bangladesh Bank, Sylhet Mr. Mohammed Mobarak Hossain inaugurated the exposition as the chief guest. Mr. Nilchand Singha Assistant General Manager (AGM) of Agrani Bank Limited, Regional office of Sylhet, Renowned fashion designer Mr. Chandra Shekhar Saha, Mr. Saikat Biswas, project coordinator, Oxfam, Mr. Mahi Uddin Ahmed Selim, General Secretary, Sylhet Zella Krira Songstha and resource person Ms. Radhabati Devi attended as special guest in the inaugural ceremony. The inaugural session was started with a welcome speech by Mr. Uzzal Azim, program officer, Oxfam. The guests and audience were fascinated with the colorful Manipuri traditional dance performed by the artist of Manipuri at the beginning of the inaugural session. Chief guest Mohammed Mobarak Hossain highly appreciated for the initiative taken by ECDO and Oxfam for the development of Manipuri handloom sector. Further he said through this project it is possible to ensure empowerment of Manipuri women economically and socially. Special guest Mr. Nilchand Singha said he feels proud for getting the opportunity to be attended as special guest like this important event. He suggested to ECDO to communicate with his institution (Bank) for any kinds of financial support to promote this handloom project. Mr. Saikat Biswas and Mr. Chandra Shekhar Saha also delivered their speeches describing about the journey of this project. At the initial stage of the project total 58 expert Manipuri women artisans from Kamalgonj and Sylhet were involved in the project for renovating a heritage of weaving history. ECDO’s aim is to introduce the real Manipuri handloom products to the buyers which ultimately can instigate Manipuri women’s economic leadership both in their families and communities. It should be mentioned that the inauguration session was presided by Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of ECDO.
On 6th April 2015 ECDO inaugurated `Manipuri Language Centre’ at Bhanubil Majhergaon of Moulvibazar district under its `Promoting Education and Mother Tongue of Indigenous Children’ project, which is implementing by ECDO with support from HEI VERDEN, Norway. In that inauguration program Dr. J N Biswas, additional secretary, Ministry of Primary and Mass education was present as chief guest. Md. Kamrul Hasan, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Moulvibazar district, Md. Zahidul Islam Miah, Upozela Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Kamalgonj Upozela and District Primary Education Officer (DPEO) Mr. Panchanan Bala were present as special guests.
The inaugural session was started through the well come speech by Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of ECDO. In his welcome speech he gave a brief description about the project. And the session was chaired by Mr. Indrajit Singha, president of ECDO. Chief guest Mr. Bisaws highly appreciated ECDO and HEI VERDEN for implementing like this important project for indigenous children. Further he said for every child mother tongue is very important to start their primary education. Deputy Commissioner Md. Kamrul Hasan said, all indigenous children should learn Bengali and English language along with their mother tongue. Because, without become skill in Bengali and English they will not get any good job in future. UNO and DPEO also gave their valuable speeches in the inauguration program. Education materials including Manipuri Books (Manipuri Londam Lairik) was distributed among seventy five Manipuri children for three Manipuri Language Centres (MLC) after the speeches of guests. Besides the guest speakers Akmal Hossain Nipu, Sazzadul Haque Swapan, Aheibam Ranjit Singha, Khamdram Biren Singha, Sujit Meitei also delivered their speeches among the audience . Ms. Nongpoklai Sinha, Project Coordinator of ECDO was conducted the whole program. It should be mentioned that ECDO is operating four Education support Centres (ESC) and three Manipuri Language Centres (MLC) under this project at Sylhet and Moulvibazar district.
Program related newspaper link;