What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
Munda, the community which is going to be addressed by this project, is the most backward class in the southwest part of Bangladesh. This indigenous community first migrated in this part from Bihar of India during the period of British rule. They were brought as bondage labor to work for cleaning the jungle (Sunderban) for establishing human settlement. Since than, until now, many development initiatives have been taken in this area, but all these efforts in stead of benefiting the community has rather considerably damaged their culture, traits, norms and entity. Munda maintains a different culture and language and live almost on natural endowments. All of their livelihood means are largely managed through gathering from nature. Locally they are called Buno, means ‘jungle-people’, and people of the locality treat them as well animals alike. They are the most isolated class in their locality. They have almost no access to any social facilities. Education, health, economy into all these basic facilities they have hardly any access. Due to their different culture and language children can not rightly contact the usual education information, and most often they get drop-out even not completing grade I. Maximum Munda people depend on traditional heath care and often fall in sever health risks specially with reproductive health where women’s suffering is devastating. Although Munda is Hindu, their pattern of worship is different than typical Hindu practice. In their worship, nature gets more priority than the gods. They belong to lower caste and are severely hated by the majority people of the area. As they are Hindu it has made them different than other indigenous groups on many issues like property rights. The main occupation of this community is selling labor in agriculture sector. Apart from that, nowadays, few have started to engage in rickshaw-van pulling and running different small trades. However, invariably under socio-economic point of analysis Munda community belongs to the category of helpless poor. Though in the other part of Bangladesh few NGOs have some programmes for their development but not very specifically focused on their problems, and based on identifying their real needs and demands for a sustainable development. Major efforts have so far been taken are charity or some ad hock development initiatives and these are largely chosen being felt by the NGOs rather through consulting with the community. This project has an obvious motive to fill that gap and to assist the community to identify the ways and means of development basing on their desired vision towards sustained results.
Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.
I was born in 1979 in Bangladesh. After studying engineering, I started to work as a volunteer in social development organizations in 1999. I want to bring an institutional shape of indigenous knowledge. I also plan to establish an university for indigenous knowledge promotion.
Being a progressive dedicated youth my passion is always insisting me to contribute to social transformation. Moved by the sorrows and distress of the poor and socio-economic discrimination in respect of class, cast, creed and gender, I formed an organization called Padma, signifying the name of most important river in Bangladesh.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)
If through another source, please provide the information.
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