On the outside looking in

23 Oct 2013   |   Blog   |   Supporter action

Tags:  flower display, Indigenous Peoples, education, Bangladesh   |   No comments

A few weeks ago, Toowoomba hosted its annual festival, the Carnival of Flowers. This year, Caritas Australia’s Veronica White took part by creating an amazing flower display – with a difference.

Floral display at St Patrick's Cathedral

The Caritas flower display at St Patrick’s Cathedral exhibited a beautiful array of flowers of all types and colours. However, the most eye-catching part of the display was not the flowers – but rather the photo in the background of a young boy peeking in through the window, as though trying to catch a glimpse of the display.

When asked about this unique feature of the display, Veronica explained,

“I took this photo when visiting a tribal village in Bangladesh back in 2008. In the village, there was this tiny school in which Caritas has set up a program for children from the tribal community – for toddlers and children up to the age of four. There, they would learn the Bangali language, so that when they reached school age, they would be able to go to school and communicate with teachers and other children.

The rural community in Bangladesh

”The people from these Indigenous tribal communities in Bangladesh are so much like our Indigenous peoples in Australia. They are the poorest of the poor in their country. They have had their land taken away from them, and they have had to move out to remote areas where they have little food. And yet the children’s little faces have so much joy…

Boy looking through window

“There is only one classroom in the village school, and each day, the teacher teaches different classes throughout the day. One day whilst talking with the teacher inside, I saw this little toddler looking in the window, and so I took his picture.

“It was like he was on the outside of the world looking in…”

The photo and story reminds us of how important education is in allowing people to gain access to social and economic life, and escape the cycle of poverty. However, many Indigenous Peoples around the world do not have access to appropriate education systems, resulting in lower levels of education compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Caritas Australia is working to support Indigenous Peoples in promoting education and literacy in culturally appropriate ways. Find out more in Caritas Australia’s Walk As One: Connecting with our world’s Indigenous Peoples campaign »

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