Chattogram Archdiocesan Pastoral Formation Team of Chattogram Hill Tracts organized a Skill Development Training of the Karbaris on 20-26 July 2023 at Fiat Pastoral Centre, Bandarban.
The Chattogram Hill Tracts is divided into three Circles, namely Chakma Circle, Bohmang Circle, and Mong Circle – each circle is headed by a Circle Chief. Again, each circle is divided into several smaller administrative units called Mouzas, which are comprised of some villages. Each Mouza is headed by an administrative head, called Headman. Under a Mouza, there are several villages, and the head of the village is called Karbari.
In Chattogram Hill Tracts, the Chattogram Archdiocese comprises seven parishes with 243 villages (known locally as para). Traditionally, the position of the para chief, known as karbaris, is inherited. Exceptions exist, but the majority of karbaris in these 243 villages are illiterate. The Chattogram Archdiocese believes that the skill development of para karbaris is necessary for the holistic development of CHT villages. Accordingly, two such skill development initiatives are organized annually in Chattogram Hill Tracts.
In this year’s training 29 village karbaris and five catechists participated which began on Thursday, July 20, 2023, with a Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Father Binoy Sebastian Gomes, CSC, Parish Priest of Bandarban Fatima Rani Catholic Church. Then, over the course of the following five days, the participating Karbaris were educated on the following topics: an overview of Church services in Chattogram Hill Tracts, Mary: Our mother and praying the rosary, conflict resolution, we are the children of mother earth, the socio-economic and political reality of CHT, the right to safe foods, cultivation of seasonal crops, women in leadership and management of villages, and care of livestock.
The training of village leaders was the responsibility of a resourceful staff. The team members were Mr. Khunthairoy Francis Tripura – Secretary of the Pastoral Service Team, Fr. Sumon Peter Costa- Director of Holy Cross Family Rosary Ministry, Chattogram Archdiocese, Sr. Mamata Palma, LHC- Animator of the Pastoral Service Team, Mr. Manik Willver D Costa- Coordinator of the Pastoral Service Team, Mr. Subrato Das- Assistant Agricultural Officer of Bandarban Sadar Upazila, and Mr. Alok Kumar Chakrobarty- Upazila Livestock Officer (acting) of Bandarban Sadar Upazila.
The para karbaris were also able to meet the Archbishop of Chattogram, His Grace
Lawrence Subrato Howlader, CSC; the Vicar General, Father Terence Rodrigues; and the Parish Priest of Bandarban, Father Binoy Sebastian Gomes, CSC. During a day-long interaction session, they presented the hierarchies with numerous proposals for the spiritual and socioeconomic development of Chattogram Hill Tracts.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the training program concluded with a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration officiated over by Fr. Benjamin Pintu Costa, Assistant Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Chattogram.