Zabarang Kalyan Samity (ZABARANG) today, is the organization standing at the forefront of community development at the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the 21st Century.
Founded in 28th January, 1995 at Khagrapur village of Sadar Upazila under Khagrachari Hill District by progressive-minded citizens, ZABARANG has a come a long way from its modest beginnings, to an unprecedented track record of significant achievements in the last ten years. That ZABARANG has brought a positive change in development perspectives in Khagrachari Hill District cannot be denied, given the impact of its programs in the lives of the people.
Now, more than ever, ZABARANG is even more vibrant in its pursuit of genuine development for the disadvantaged, the discriminated, and the marginalized sectors of hill district society. ZABARANG aspires for a society free from exploitation, deprivation, malnutrition and oppression. The organization’s underlying strategy to address the need for elimination of poverty, illiteracy, injustice, and discrimination against indigenous people is community involvement. ZABARANG believes that the citizens themselves have the right to decide, to choose, and to uphold what development directions they wish to undertake.
Steering the organization to the right course, and never veering away from his commitment to bring ZABARANG towards the fulfillment of its goals, is the multi-awarded and charismatic Executive Director. Fresh from being proclaimed by the United Nations as one of the most outstanding young leaders of Asia, Mathura Tripura has proven what it takes to run an organization like ZABARANG, and is ably assisted by qualified men and women who are as motivated and inspired to do their best in their particular responsibilities.
Recognizing the inherent management capability of ZABARANG in implementing its programs and projects, the International Aid Agencies such as United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Save The Children, VSO International, WFP, Action AID Bangladesh, and other leading private corporations entered into partnerships with the organization to carry out their mission in uplifting the communities in the district.
ZABARANG works in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). It is situated in the southeast region of Bangladesh, bordering Tripura and Mizoram State of India and Myanmar (Burma). This is the only region of Bangladesh where the indigenous peoples are a majority. It is unique for its mountains, forests, lakes and ethnic diversity. Eleven different indigenous ethnic groups live in the region. Although original settlers in the hill tracts, the people have long been deprived of basic needs such as potable water, health, sanitation services, as well as electricity. Where formal development projects were undertaken, very little benefits have accrued to the local people. The situation of Chittagong Hill Tracts was exacerbated by political unrest, armed conflicts, displacement and huge waves of out migration.
Zabarang believes that the negative consequences on the lives of the hill people were caused by inappropriate development projects, formulated and implemented without consultation with the locals. As in any development endeavor, the projects conceived from without did not succeed and subsequently wasted.
Since Zabarang believes in a more contemporary approach to development which involves people in decision-making processes, the organization plays a major role in strengthening community participation to build an active citizenry.