Garo tribe The Garo community is one of the major tribes in Bangladesh. According to the history books, the Garo tribe entered Bangladesh in the first century. They were refugees from Mongolia and came to this region through Tibet.

The Garo have stayed in Bangladesh for thousands of years. Initially, they followed a religion called Sonatoni. Today, nearly 100 percent of the Garo tribe practices Christianity, though a few still believe in Sonatoni.

Garos have their own language, Achick, which is completely different from the local language, Bengali. Achik has several accents/branches such as Habeng, Attong, etc.

The Garo tribe also has its own culture. Their dress, food habits and celebration styles can be easily distinguished from the Bengalis and other tribes.

The people from the Garo tribe have different features than the original inhabitants of Bangladesh (Bengali people). They are a little shorter and have fair skin. Their eyes and nose are similar to their ancestors from Mongolia.

Compared to the other tribal groups, the Garo tribe is little advanced in education and social activities. The first Garo church (Garo Baptist Convention) was established in 1910. Many missionaries and evangelists from Europe and North America worked among the Garo people over the decades.

Being a part of a developing country, the Garo community also suffers from poverty. Many Garo families are deprived of education.

Garos in the villages and in remote places suffer from lack of clean water and sanitation. There are many villages like Gobindopur and Nalchapra, which greatly need hospitals and medical facilities.

The people from the Garo community have to go to the local pharmacy for  minor diseases or injuries. For major problems, they have to take the patient to the town, which is about 35 kilometers away.

The Garo have only one high school (sixth through 10th grade) with a capacity of only 300 children. This government school has only nine teachers. There are also two primary schools in those villages with limited capacity and facilities.

The houses of the Garo people are made of bamboo walls and straw or tin roofs. Some houses have mud walls with a roof of straw and plastic sheets. House are typically 7 feet wide and 14 feet long. The Garo build their own houses. Usually they have free spaces in front of their houses. They keep cows, chicken and ducks as pets.

Garo families usually have an average  of two to three children.

Thirty percent of the Garo people have completed high school. However, the remaining 70 percent have not; the poor families can’t afford to send their children to school.

The government of Bangladesh has ensured that all children can attend primary school. But many children from the Garo community drop out after the primary level.

The educated people from the Garo community work in nongovernmental and other corporate organizations. The poorer Garo people earn their keep by working as day laborers, usually in the crop fields for nine or 10 hours daily.

Available transportation in Garo villages is cycle or rickshaw, especially for long distances. But since most peope can’t afford the rickshaw fare, they walk. Cycle-vans are used to carry goods.

In the Garo culture, both male and female have to work for the family. The interesting part is that the Garo ladies get ownership of the properties from the family, a tradition completely opposite of the Bengali people.

The Garo festivals are very colorful and full of music and dancing. Christmas and Easter are the two major religious festivals. Their biggest cultural festival is called Wangala.

Wangala is the festival when the Garo thank God for the new crops. It takes place just after the harvesting period. The Garo prepare pitha (homemade pies), sweets and other food to celebrate this occasion. At the celebration, Garo girls wear their traditional dress and sprinkle puffed rice and dry rice with their hands.

The traditional dress of the Garo ladies is called Dokbanda,  a combination of a long skirt and blouse. The gents wear regular shirts, trousers and lungi (Bangladeshi skirt for men).

The favorite dishes of the Garo are pork, snails, eel and little tortoises. They use a special substance called Khari to make the food more tasteful. They prepare the Khari at home.

Compassion-assisted child development centers that serve the Garo people include: BD-401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411 and 412.

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  1. jennifer
    Feb 9, 2010
    at 8:34 am

    I love these articles! And especially that you included the center numbers. I don’t sponsor in Bangladesh, but I still love learning about the other countries – and who knows I may sponsor in them someday!

  2. Feb 9, 2010
    at 8:40 am

    Very cool to learn about the different cultures that Compassion is active in.

  3. Debbi Akers
    Feb 9, 2010
    at 11:02 am

    As an advocate, I find these posts to be amazing! I can forward them on to my sponsors who sponsor in these countries in hopes of better connecting them with their children. At the same time, it is a wonderful way to intorduce them to the blog and all of the information they can glean from it! Thank you for always being on the cutting edge! I pray that God blesses the work of your hands by deepening the relationships of our sponsors with their children all over the world.

  4. Amy Wallace
    Feb 9, 2010
    at 1:22 pm

    Are these going to be done for all (most) of the countries Compassion works in?

  5. Marci in MO
    Feb 9, 2010
    at 7:11 pm

    I ditto Debbie Akers, and Amy Wallace. My thoughts exactly! Wonderful article. Thank you for keeping us learning all of the time. It makes our lives much richer as Sponsors and Advocates.

  6. Feb 10, 2010
    at 2:05 pm

    Really sweet photo here! And love the article — thanks!

  7. Feb 12, 2010
    at 4:34 pm

    Amy,

    There will definitely be more posts like this. And I’d love to get posts of this nature for all of the countries we work in, but it’s unlikely.

  8. Manjit
    Apr 15, 2010
    at 11:45 pm

    Really informative article. I would also like to serve such communities once my graduation is over.

  9. mathew
    Dec 23, 2010
    at 8:18 am

    how many Garos are there in Bangladesh? what challenges they face being a minority in the country vastly different in religion and culture?

  10. Jun 12, 2011
    at 12:18 am

    i’m impressed lot many of our Garo brethren live in bangladesh. even in nepal garos are found near kathmandu

  11. Jul 5, 2011
    at 4:19 am

    It is sad being a Garo we can’t help each other separeted by division between India and Bangladesh. But feel good to hear that they have aaccepted Christ as we have in India, I wish and pray for all the people and ministry who are working for the uplipment of Garos. May God bless you all.

  12. Masudur rahman
    Aug 16, 2011
    at 5:42 am

    As an advocate, I find these posts to be amazing! I can forward them on to my sponsors who sponsor in these countries in hopes of better connecting them with their children. At the same time, it is a wonderful way to introduce them to the blog and all of the information they can glean from it! Thank you for always being on the cutting edge! I pray that God blesses the work of your hands by deepening the relationships of our sponsors with their children all over the world.

  13. Jun 14, 2012
    at 3:54 pm

    I want 2 meet our fellow Garos in Bangladesh & rest of the other countries..But it is realy very sad that they are minority in Bangladesh and no proper infrastructure is being done to them to take up their standards of living… Though Garos in India are also still moving up in society but we are atleast good enough in our living ..And feel very pity for our brothers & sisters living in Bangladesh ..May God always be with them & help them 2 grow..But for sure i will visit them atleast once in a lifetime..

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