08 Aug 17
In 2017 the theme of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is ‘10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’.
Ten years ago, on 13 September 2007, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a major milestone with respect to the cooperation and solidarity between indigenous peoples and Member States.
Caritas Australia works alongside the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised indigenous communities. This is the story of Ronjit from Bangladesh, who has transformed his life and is now flourishing as a small livestock trader.
Photo credit: Caritas Australia
Ronjit lives in a small village of Jerkhapara in Atapur union of Pancbibi within the Joypurhat district of Bangladesh. He lives with his wife, two daughters and mother. He and his wife are working as day labourers to for the family.
For a number of years, the family struggled financially, having only a small piece of land to their name and experiencing unemployment during quiet periods of the year. Ronjit and his wife would sell their labour to local land owners for a lower cost just so they had some form of income. They also had to take out loans from a money lender. Some days, the family would struggle to eat three meals in a day.
Ronjit's mother taking care of the poultry. Photo: Caritas Bangladesh
Through the help of Caritas Bangladesh’s Sustainable Livelihood Program for Indigenous Communities in Dinajpur, which is supported by Caritas Australia and Australian Aid, Ronjit has developed skills and knowledge on goat & poultry rearing to enhance his income for family support. Ronjit was selected as a participant in the program by the ‘Gram Parishod’ which means village council, a traditional social organisation of the indigenous Adivasis.
The program initially provided Ronjit with skills development training in goat and poultry rearing, as well as some small funds to help him start his livestock trading. This support has given him the confidence to maintain a sustainable business of livestock trade and cultivating crops.
Ronjit currently owns two cows, seven goats, 20 hens and 51 ducks. Through the selling of poultry, Ronjit was able to earn enough money to pay for his children’s education needs. He has also been able to lease close to half a hectare of land as a result of his cow selling and purchasing profits.
Ronjit and his family are now flourishing and living a life together filled with dignity, as they are now able to eat regularly and buy items such as clothes and medicine when needed.
"I am very grateful to Caritas Bangladesh and funding partners for giving me the financial support, which helped me overcome my worse situation and gain better financial status to live a life with dignity," says Ronjit.