UWC Education – A catalyst for social change

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I come from the ‘Rangei hoza’ (Rangei clan) and ‘bhuter gusthi’ (ghost group) of Chakmas, which means my paternal side of the family is a descendant of a ghost. This must sound quite exotic to people who do not belong to the Chakma community. Chakmas comprise of less than 0.3% of Bangladeshi population and mostly live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). My identity struggle as an ethnic minority began at an early age. Unlike many other indigenous kids of CHT, I went to schools in different parts of the country due to the nature of my father’s job. I ended up being the only Chakma kid in my class in every school I went to. I figured I was somewhat different from other children. Usually it was not my behaviour, rather my flat nose and slanted eyes that gave it away. It was easy to stereotype me. Kids would often chant “Chakma! Chakma!” if they saw me pass by. Sometimes I would be asked whether my people (Chakmas) ate frogs and snakes, lived naked in the jungle and spoke Chinese language. These things upset me back then. It felt awful to be different and I did not exactly embrace my Chakma identity with a sense of pride or happiness. Continue reading

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