Bangladesh Stay Report

By Tak Matsui, Reporter and OneGlobal Community Member

From December 11th to 18th, I had the opportunity to stay in the country of Bangladesh where I visited a children's facility. The location was Mahamuni village on the outskirts of Chittagong, the second-largest city after the capital Dhaka.

In 1972, a Japanese Buddhist monk established the "Mahamuni Mother and Child Residence". While the country is predominantly Islamic and Bengali, 80 children from various minority races and religions live together here.

These children, ranging in age from about 4 to 17, come from diverse ethnic backgrounds such as Bawm, Marma, Chakma, Hindi, Tanchangya, and more. Their skin colors and cultures vary, and some even resemble Japanese children. Although the primary religion is Buddhism, Hinduism is also embraced, and the coexistence of these two religions seems harmonious.

Despite its status as a children's facility, the name "Mother and Child Residence" goes back to its origins when it provided shelter for mothers and children who lost husbands during the 1971 liberation war. Today, it serves as a home for children from families with absent parents or from those facing poverty and unable to care for their children.

Remarkably, these children exude brightness! Their disciplined routine begins at 5 am with cleaning, prayer recitations, and meal preparation. There are designated study hours, and evening prayers are part of their daily routine. Despite the structured lifestyle, every day appears to be filled with joy. Upon approaching them, the children eagerly gathered wanting to play and being fond of children myself, I had the pleasure of joining them daily.

Notably, we organized a Mölkky tournament, a game introduced during a recent One Global event. Dividing into teams of 80, the children, well-versed in outdoor activities, exhibited remarkable skill and accuracy from the start. The excitement was palpable as they experienced this game for the first time. Bringing the heavy Mölkky set in my suitcase proved worthwhile. Playing a Finnish game in Bangladesh truly encapsulated the spirit of One Global.

On December 16th, we conducted a live-streamed event while strolling through Mahamuni village, sharing our experiences with the One Global community. We explored a nearby Buddhist temple, traversed through alleys, visited the facility, and even enjoyed a visit to a local café. The scenes we encountered were unlike anything found in Japan, and during our journey, we were joined by various locals.

The week passed in the blink of an eye, leaving us with incredible memories. The farewell was bittersweet, marked by uncontrollable tears.

This was my first visit to Bangladesh and I throughly enjoyed my stay. At the same time, there are many challenges where I feel that One Global can contribute.

I'm eager to return this December - would you like to join us?


Back to all events