Moanoghar is a non-political and socio-educational and development organization, located in Rangapani village in Rangamati of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. In the aftermath of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the entire region of CHT was affected. The lives of the ethnic indigenous communities living there were totally disrupted.
Many children were left orphaned and destitute and so Moanoghar was founded in 1974. It became the ideal institution to provide refuge, to house and educate the children who were mere victims of the strife.
In the ensuing decades when the region descended into a period of political instability which seriously disrupted the lives of the region's ethnic indigenous communities, Moanoghar was established as an ideal institution to provide refuge to hundreds of children who were victims of the strife.
Moanoghar is a Chakma word. Its literal meaning is ‘hill home’ constructed in the jum (shifting cultivation) field. ‘Moanoghar’ is a house to protect the jum crops from the attack of wild animals and birds. It is also used as a shelter house for the jumia farmers to take rest and save themselves from the rain and sun. Jum harvests are first collected in the ‘moanoghar’. In the end of harvests, the jumias with rice and other jum crops, return to their respective homes back in the village. In analogy with these phenomena of the jumias’ life and reality, this institution was named Moanoghar.
The founders envisioned that like a jum field, Moanoghar would be a centre of unity in diversity; where children from all communities of the CHT and beyond would come for education and glean knowledge. Being equipped with knowledge, they would return to their own respective homes in every nook and corner in the hills; where they would be acting as the torch-bearers in their communities.
Moanoghar, a non-political, non-profit and voluntary socio-educational organisation, was established in 1974 by a group of socially engaged Buddhist monks and laypersons with the objectives of providing shelter and education to the poor and destitute children in the CHT region. The two historically important events – the Kaptai hydroelectric dam in 1960s and the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, had adversely affected indigenous peoples. Among them, children suffered most from the worst situation. In fact, these two events shaped the idea of Moanoghar to provide protection to the affected children.
When the construction of the Kaptai hydroelectric dam was completed in 1962, one-third of the total arable land of the CHT went under water by displacing more than hundred thousand indigenous people, mostly the Chakmas from their ancestral lands. The uprooted families did not receive compensation from the government, for which they were in severe distress. Seeing their suffering, the then head priest of Boalkhali Dashabal Raj Vihar (Buddhist Temple) in Dighinala opened a shelter home in 1963, called Parbatya Chattal Boudha Anath Ashram (PCBAA), a precursor to Moanoghar, where he started providing shelter, food and education to the children of the victims of the dam.
Then in 1971 Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan through a sanguinary war for nine months. But during the war, thousands of thousand people fled away from their hearth and home to become refugees, in addition to a significant number of internally displaced people across the whole CHT. Under these circumstances, Moanoghar was founded in 1974 by individuals associated with the PCBAA.
From the mid 70s, the situation of the CHT further deteriorated due to continued fighting between the government forces and the armed cadres of the Parbatya Chattagram Jono Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), the latter waged a guerilla war for autonomy of the CHT region. During this turbulent period, Moanoghar turned out to be the only safe place for hundreds of children affected by the conflict. To-date Moanoghar has been playing a vital role to provide shelter and education to thousands of poor and orphaned children from the remote and marginalized indigenous families across the CHT.
Moanoghar is duly registered with the Department of Social Service (No. Ranga – 18 (871/80 on December 9, 1980) and the NGO Affairs Bureau (No. 1637 on 14 May 2001) of the government of Bangladesh.
Our vision is of a society in which the disadvantaged and marginalised communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts have access to the basic services necessary to give them a secure future and in which the various cultural traditions of its people can be shared and cherished.
Moanoghar's mission is to work with the poor and marginalized indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Moanoghar works to provide formal education, vocational training, health services and support for the overall socio-economic development of its students in the area and of the wider community. In addition to these priorities, Moanoghar aspires to promote and preserve indigenous culture and to act as a symbol of communal harmony to the wider community.