In August 2022 ALL forum facilitated Moving School in Bangladesh with the theme theme “Youth for Interreligious/Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration Promoting Religio-Cultural Pluralism for Public Good” along with Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement (BCSM) students.
It was a very interesting experience to understand how Interreligious interactions take palace in communities, especially, among indigenous communities who have adopted Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Around 45 participants actively participated during this Moving School in Bangladesh. On the first day during community immersion the participants divided into 4 groups visited 4 different areas viz. Madhupur in Thangall District, Nalitabari and Jenaigati both in Sherpur District and Kalmakanda in Netrokona District.
The first group visited Madhupur in Thangall District were engaged in learning about the land grabbing issues faced by the indigenous community living there by the Bangladesh forest department for the purpose of lake digging. Another group visited Nalitabari in Sherpur District to engage with three indigenous communities, especially to learn how they are able to live harmoniously amid preexisting cultural and religious differences between Koch, Hajong and Garo communities. The third group visited Jhenaigati area also in Sherpur District to understand and learn about the land grabbing issues and importantly about deforestation and rampant destruction by wild elephants in the area. And the last group of participants visited Kalmakanda in Netrokona District to spend time with the local communities and learn from their experiences when they were drastically affected by the recent July Floods in Bangladesh and also understand the issue of sand mining from river.
Followed by the Immersion, participants were engaged in 5 workshops spanning over 3 days. We dealt with thematic areas such as “Vicious Circle of Poverty and Corruption in Bangladesh: What Could, or Should Youth do about it?” With the morning session lead by Mr. Apurbo Mrong, the Regional Director, Caritas Mymensingh; who dealt with “Reason Why Poverty and Corruption Worsened in Bangladesh Today: Role of Civil Society including Church and FBOs” followed by the afternoon session lead by Br.Guillaume de Wolf, a Taize Brother and Social Worker; on “Promoting Religious Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism for the Peace between Religions and in the Society”.
On the second day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area “Youth for Promoting “Synodality” or Synodal Church for Human Rights and Interreligious Dialogue/Cooperation” with the morning session lead by Mr. Paul Hwang, Director, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Significance of Synodality and Its Implementation for Interreligious/ Intercultural Citizenship for Common Good” followed by the afternoon session lead by Mr. Neilan D’souza, Coordinator, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Youth as Advocate for Human Rights especially Women in Bangladesh” Co-facilitated by Mrs. Rosey Rongma, from Caritas Mymensingh.
On the third day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area “The Cry of the Poor the Cry of the Earth: Justice and Peace for the Humanity and the Earth” with the morning session lead by Mrs. Suborna Poli Drong, the Executive Director, Shanti Mitra Somaj Kolyan Songshtha; on “Promoting Harmony and Reconciliation between the Nature and the Humanity by Practicing ‘Ecological Conversion’ and Sustainable Development in Asia”. We ended the workshops with a thorough synthesis which helped the participants connect and realise the need and importance of likely workshops. We closed the program with a closing mass followed by a Cultural evening where the Bangladeshi Youth transformed the evening with their wonderful talents through various song, music and dance performances.*