ECDO inaugurated Manipuri Language Centre (MLC) under its `Promoting Education and Mother Tongue of Indigenous Children’ project

'Disclosed cover of Manipuri book ‘Manipuri Londam Lairik’ 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.
Chief Guest Dr. J N Biswas, additional secretary, Ministry of Primary and Mass education delivering his speech 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. Education materials distributed by Chief guestChief 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. Participants of the meetingBecause, 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 . Group photo session with Guest & MLC students 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.


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ECDO organized International Human Rights Day-2014

 The Chief guest announcing the inauguration of the event on The Human Rights Day 2014 On 10th December 2014 Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO) celebrated International Human Rights Day-2014 with support from Embassy of France in Bangladesh. The theme of the event was ‘Human Rights 365′ which underscores the idea that every day is a human rights day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1948. The day-long International Human Rights day celebration program was inaugurated at 10.00 am by Prof. Dr. A. K. M. Mahbubuzzaman, recently former Dean of Social Sciences School at SUST. Just after inauguration a colorful rally decorated with festoons, placard, and banner manifesting different slogans on human rights rounded important streets of the city and ended up at the Sylhet Zilla Parisad Hall premises. Guests, teachers and students of different schools, colleges and universities, volunteers of the ECDO, lawyers, elected representatives, members of civil society organizations and people from different ethnic-minority communities participated in the rally.
Prof. Dr. A. K. M. Mahbubuzzaman was present as the Chief Guest during the inaugural session. Among others, President of district bar association, Sylhet Advocate A. F. Md. Ruhul Anam Chowdhury Mintu, Ex-President of district bar association, Sylhet Advocate Emad Ullah Shahidul Islam, President of Committee of Concern Citizen (TIB), Sylhet Advocate Irfanuzzaman Chowdhury were also present as a special guest. Mr. Abul Kashem, assistant professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) presented the keynote titled ‘Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh: A Special Reference to Sylhet’.

Speakers of the discussion session explained some key features of human rights i.e., universality, inalienability, indivisibility, and interrelationship etc. and hopeful about the positive achievement of the Bangladesh and required several more progresses on human rights situations of Bangladesh should come to light. They criticized the presence of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance etc. during the tenure of every government including the Care taker government.
Speakers urged the government for the recognition of basic necessities as fundamental rights.

After discussion session Human Rights Award, 2014 was given to three role models as part of the recognition of their contribution in promoting human rights locally. Award winners are;
Mr. Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury a leading human rights activist is working for good governance, accountability and corruption free government. He is the President of SUJON (Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik) Sylhet district, Mr. Moirangthem Khir Singh silently working to protect & promote the rights of indigenous peoples. Currently, he is serving as the Vice-president of Integrated Manipuri Association (IMA), Ms. Soudamini Sharma working for Manipuri women to help against the torture of their drug addicted husband; she formed ‘Tetoigaon Meira Paibi Somaj Kollyan Songstha’.

After luncheon, discussion session was conducted on the role of civil society and local administration in ensuring human rights. The session was chaired by Mr. Jugeshwar Singha, President of the host organization Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO). Among other Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) Md. Rezaul Karim and Addl. Superintendent of Police (ASP), Sylhet Mr. Md. Naimul Hasan was present as chief and special guests respectively. Advocate Mohit Lal Dhar, President, Human Rights Defenders Forum, Sylhet presented keynote in this session.

Speakers of the discussion session marked the over-all scenario of human rights situation in Sylhet as better than any other part of the country. They praise the role of law enforcement agencies, particularly police in ensuring peace and discipline around country. Stressing on the need for simultaneous presence of development and recognition of rights, speakers are focuses on sustainable development.
After discussion session Essay and Art competition winner are awarded by chief guest and special guest.

In concluding speech, President of ECDO Mr. Jugeshwar Singha thanked and expressed his gratefulness to presenters, discussants, audience, honorable guests, volunteers, ECDO staffs and Embassy of France in Bangladesh to make this wonderful and important event successful and then he declared the end of the second session.

At 3rd session, a cultural show was arranged with the participation of dancers, actors and actresses and singers from different section of population. They performed traditional Manipuri dance, drama and traditional folk music. The whole program was announced by Nongpoklai Sinha, the program coordinator of Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO). It should be mentioned that local legal aid support organizations like Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), Committee of Concern Citizen (TIB) Sylhet, FIVDB, Institute of Development Affairs (IDEA), Anique Manipuri handicraft etc. participated in this event with their IEC materials and other products. ECDO arranged eights stalls in this event including it’s an own information centre of the event.
It is expected that this celebration will have an effect to improve the physical, social, cultural, political and spiritual well being and welfare of the people in Bangladesh. Particularly this will encourage the vulnerable group of people like women, minorities, youths, poor, indigenous people etc. to take part in human rights related activities for all section of population.

ECDO launched Manipuri handloom project

Renowned designer Mr. Chandra Shekhor Saha is facilitating the workshop Manipuri indigenous community of Bangladesh has a unique household production system where women use handloom to weave clothing with unique design developed by their own artists. This home bound handloom industry was developed to fulfill their personal needs. Soon after its orientation to the outside worlds, it attracted neighboring community’s attentions and in the courses of time Manipuri women started its commercial production. Now the products of Manipuri handloom are very popular among majority peoples and therefore the market demand is high. But due to poverty, lack of direct market access and many other reasons Manipuri handloom industry is under risk. Quality is decreasing due to high price of raw materials and lack of appropriate training for innovative designs. Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of ECDO is describing details about the aims and objective of the project among Manipuri hand loom artists during inaugural session of the workshopThough Manipuri women could contribute in family income by selling handloom product in the past, their contribution reduced in recent time from this source which is affecting their personal well-being. After formal and informal meeting with the handloom artists, middle men, raw materials suppliers, micro-finance providers and other important actors ECDO explored multiple areas those needs to be intervened for the advancement of handloom industry which can ultimately ensure women empowerment.
 Mr. Saikat Biswas, Project Coordinator of Oxfam is facilitating the workshop From this background, by involving the community people, since 1st October 2014 ECDO has launched a Manipuri Handloom Development Project experimentally in Adampur bazar of Kamalgonj upazilla under Moulvibazar district and Sylhet City Corporation area of Bangladesh by receiving all kinds of financial and technical support from Oxfam through its ‘Women Economic Leadership (WEL)’ Sector. The main objective of this project is to ensure empowerment of Manipuri women in the society through promoting their traditional Manipuri handloom sector.
Group photo session with Manipuri hand loom artists after workshop At the preliminary stage of this project, a total of 71 Manipuri women are getting opportunity to develop their skills and capacity in a way so that all of them can become an independent entrepreneur with innovative skills. To do so, based on observation and baseline survey, following activities are selected for intervention:

  • To organize workshops on innovative designing
  • To provide training on entrepreneurship development for the Manipuri women.
  •   To arrange two exhibitions (in Dhaka and Sylhet) of the Manipuri handloom products at the initial level of this project.
  • To provide capital support free of interest to the potential producers.
  • To ensure linkage of marketing.
  • Branding for Manipuri products

A fraction of Manipuri hand loom artists of Sylhet city corporation during workshop The first phase workshop is held on 2-4 November 2014 at Adampur bazar, Kamalgonj. Other activities are in progress. ECDO believes that this project will play a vital role for ensuring economic empowerment of Manipuri women in Bangladesh.

ECDO organized a View Exchange Meeting with Manipuri students and leaders

Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of ECDO is delivering his power point presentation about the activities of ECDO ECDO has organized a view exchange meeting with Manipuri students and leaders on 2nd August 2014 at Manipuri Kangshang, Adampurbazar, Kamalgonj, Moulvibazar. At the beginning of the meeting Mr. Jugeshwar Singha, President of ECDO delivered his well come speech and later Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of ECDO gave a brief description through a multimedia presentation about the present activities and till to date achievement of ECDO. Honorable guests (from the left) Mr. Maibam Birendra Singha, Mr. Khoirom Kamini Kumar Singha, Mr. Joyanta Singha, Md. Abdul Matin. Mr. Nilchand Singha and Moderator Khoirom Indrajit Singha In this meeting ECDO tried to find out some action points what Manipuri young generation and leaders are thinking about the initiatives need to be taken for the sustainable development of Manipuri community. In this view exchange meeting there were present as honorable guests Mr. Nilchand Singha, Assistant General Manager (AGM) Agrani Bank Limited Sylhet zone, Mr. Birendra Singha, retired headmaster of a secondary high school, Mr. Joyanta Kumar Singha also a retired headmaster of another secondary high school, Khoirom Kamini Kumar Singha renowned Manipuri writer, Md. Abdul Matin headmaster Tetaigaon Rashid Uddin high school, Mr. Shyamal (Ebunghal) Singh Secretary Manipuri Vasa Gobesona O Unnayan Songstha. And Mr. Khoirom Indrajit was also present as moderator of this meeting. After end of the presentation the floor was opened for the audience and then the young Manipuri students, leaders and other mass people participants were expressed their opinions.  Participants of the meeting They said they are very much happy to know details about the activities of ECDO. They also feel proud to know about some significant achievements made by ECDO, Human Rights Defenders and civil society members regarding indigenous peoples land rights in Sylhet.
Most of the young and leader participants requested ECDO for taking necessary initiatives for uplift socioeconomic condition of Manipuri community. Manipuri students also request ECDO to support them through providing education stipend for ensuring their higher education. Among the participants Mr. Hironmoy Singha, Secretary General Integrated Manipuri Association (IMA), Yumnam Piba Shambhu Ratan, Keisham Birolal Singha delivered their speeches.  Participants of the meetingIn the closing session ECDO committed working with Manipuri community of Kamalgonj area from the next year-2015 for developing Manipuri language and culture through establishment of five ‘Manipuri Language Centre’. And another initiative will be taken for economic empowerment of Manipuri women through involving them with income generating activities in a innovative way. Mr. Singh, executive director of ECDO also suggests the Manipuri students to research on Manipuri; so that we can find out the real existing problems within this community. Further he said that ECDO is ready to provide all kinds of support for the Manipuri students who will involve with this research works within its limitations. He said this kinds of research work will help to take necessary initiatives for the development of Manipuri community. In this meeting there were present more than two hundred participants. ECDO especially thanks to Mr. Sonatan Hamom a renowned Manipuri poet and social worker and his group members for their valuable time and efforts given for organizing like this successful event in Kamalgonj area on behalf of ECDO.

First human rights fair organized in Sylhet by ECDO

Human Rights Fair-2014 Rally Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO) organized a successful two-day long Human Rights Fair at Sylhet Zella Parisad premises on 21 and 22 May 2014. The event was held under the ‘Strengthening the Voice of Human Rights Defenders to protect Rights and Entitlements of Ethnic Minorities’ project with support from European Union and Oxfam. Advocate Ms. Sultana Kamal, former advisor to the caretaker government, was present as the Chief Guest during the inaugural session. Among others, Mr. William Hanna, Ambassador and Chief of the EU delegation to Bangladesh, Mr. Snehal V Soneji, Country Director of Oxfam Bangladesh, Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP), Md. Musfequr Rahman, indigenous leader, Mr. Sanjeeb Drong, and SUJON District Committee President, Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury were also present as special guests.

Advocate Sultana Kamal is delivering her inaugural speech of the fair The event began with a colorful rally with banners, placards and festoons. Speakers of the discussion session urged the government to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, stating that the current situation in the country was unsatisfactory, and without improvement, the overall sustainable development of Bangladesh will continue to remain slow. Speakers praised the Human Rights Fair for being a new concept that will create opportunities to disseminate culture, life and livelihood of different indigenous groups as well as highlighting indigenous rights related issues mainstream people, particularly civil society actors. The aim of the fair was to increase understanding among non-indigenous stakeholders about indigenous people’s rights and its present state. Indigenous people also benefited from the fair as it provided an opportunity to learn about their rights and ways to exercise and protect them free from setbacks. Fifteen stalls were decorated by different development agencies, legal aid support organizations and indigenous peoples organization like BLAST, BNWLA, IPDS, IDEA, ECDO, PASKOP, and Anik Manipuri Fashion House, among others. The stalls displayed indigenous people’s culture, life, and livelihood, as well as the legal support mechanisms that are available to them. On the occasion of Human Rights Fair-2014 Mr. William Hanna, Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation of European Union to Bangladesh is delivering his speech The inaugural session was chaired by Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh, Executive Director of hosting organization, ECDO. At the end of the session, a Human Rights Journalism Award was given to four journalists for their invaluable contribution to raising awareness about indigenous rights issues by publishing and circulating stories, which played a significant role in gaining the attention of civil society actors, local administration and national level human rights activists.  Mr. Ikramul Kabir from Somoy TV Sylhet office is receiving his Human Rights journalism award from our guests The session concluded with a colorful cultural program performed by different indigenous cultural teams. The motive of this cultural program was to introduce non-indigenous people to the beauty and richness of indigenous culture.

Three technical sessions took place on the second day of the fair, and focused on the issues that indigenous people face, and the ways in which different stakeholders can contribute to their development in their own capacities. Specific themes were used to highlight issues that are specific and unique to Sylhet region. The first session addressed the problems and prospects of the Manipuri indigenous community in Bangladesh, and was hosted by renowned Manipuri author, Mr. A K Sheram. Manipuri cultural team is performing Manipuri traditional dance Lai Haraoba The second session, run by Professor Dr. Faisal Ahmmed of the Social Work Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), explored the state of land rights and focused on Khasi, Garo, Oraon and Tea labor communities in Sylhet region. The third session emphasized the role of local administration, civil society and human rights defenders (HRD) in protecting the rights of indigenous people, and was run by Nusrat Hasina Shampa – a law faculty member of Leading University and Human Rights Defender to ECDO, Sylhet. Distinguished professors and development activists chaired all three sessions. Among them, Professor Dr. Kamal Ahmed Chowdhury of the Sociology Department and Professor Dr. A.K.M. Mahbubuzzaman of the Social Work Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) and Advocate Emad Ullah Shahidul Islam, notable human rights activist acted as chair of the sessions. Academics, civil society members, political elites, media personnel, indigenous leaders and members of different indigenous groups actively participated and shared their experiences in all the sessions, and media covered the event with great appreciation.

 Mr. Saikat Biswas from Oxfam is announcing 'Human Rights Fair-2014 Sylhet declaration' at the end of the fair ‘A Human Rights Fair- 2014 Sylhet Declaration’ was announced at the conclusion of the fair by Mr. Saikat Biswas of OXFAM. The establishment of a Manipuri Cultural Institute at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) was another important demand raised in the declaration. The declaration also covered the demand to include indigenous people in the planning and implementation phases of government development projects. Proper implementation of internationally recognized rights of indigenous peoples was also claimed in the declaration. European Union Ambassador and Chief of EU delegation to Bangladesh, Mr. William Hanna, and his team, along with Oxfam Country Director thanked ECDO for organizing the successful event.

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