We strive for religious equality and freedom of religion at all of our Child Haven children’s homes. It is one of our core Gandhian values. We believe wholeheartedly that all religions are equal and that our children and staff should be able to practice and express their faith openly and freely. We are proud to have children and staff who identify with every major religion and nowhere is that diversity of religions greater than in our home in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Child Haven’s work in Bangladesh began in 2002. In the wake of the 9/11 bombings in New York, we felt it was important for North American’s to have a greater understanding of people of a Muslim culture. We believed that setting up a children’s home in a predominately Muslim country would be our way of helping others understand acceptance.
While most people in Bangladesh identify as Muslim, there are also many people who are Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Jain, and others. There are also large populations of Tribal people who share Animalism spiritual beliefs.
We try to help our young people learn and explore their own religion and culture. They are encouraged to visit the sacred gathering places of their own religion, such as mosques, churches, and temples. We have a religion teacher who comes to the home several times a week to aid in this as well.
“All religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.” - Mahatma Gandhi
We could all learn a thing or two from Bangladesh. These children know what truly matters – that we are all human and that we all need love.
Until next time,
Rene for CHI