Bangladesh: Hope for a Mother and Daughters
This month our country of focus is Bangladesh, where World Vision’s Strong Women, Strong World initiative focuses on child protection. Girls and women are the engines of social change yet they are the most vulnerable to abuses, lack of education and retrogressive social cultural practices. This is especially true for girls living in urban slums, low income settlements and rural areas. World Vision is working to protect children in Bangladesh.
Taslima, 12, lives with her mother Jorina and younger sister Taslina, 8, in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Six years ago her father left the family, forcing them to move to the the urban slums. There the residents eke out a living from the rubbish dumped by the city. They have no political representation and are denied basic rights and services. Most of the children of the slum work as a scrap collectors, domestic workers or beggars in order to earn a small amount of money to contribute to the scanty household income.
“I was so helpless with my two daughters. How could I survive with these girls; what would be their future?” says Jorina, Taslima’s mother.
Jorina first found a job at a local garment factory, but she could not continue due to the insecurity of her daughters so she worked a part-time job of a maid at nearby houses. They were still struggling to meet the expenses of the family. Jorina had an idea to start her own tea stall. She took a loan and started selling tea at one side of their house. She could easily take care of her daughters as well as other household tasks as she worked.
But the real change came when World Vision’s Dhaka Street Children Project staff came to their slum. Jorina began to participate in various awareness programs on topics such as gender, child protection and their rights to education, HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, hygiene, and health.
“I remained ignorant of the fact that my daughters need education until I learned from Dhaka Street Children Project to send my daughters to school. I did not understand the importance of education, which is the primary right of every child and is the starting of their successes,” Jorina adds in confidence.
Inspired by World Vision staff, Jorina admitted Taslima to the Dhaka Street Children School. At school, Taslima was offered special skill-based training in addition to other classes. She was taught how to make handmade bags with beads. World Vision supported her in getting a link to local markets and she got a good number of customers. Now, she sells her handmade products at one corner of her mother’s tea stall.
“I have learned how to live. Now I can read, write and keep accounting of all transactions of selling. I feel proud to support my mother financially. I have a dream of being a big business woman,” Taslima says.
The people who come to Jorina’s tea stall see Taslima’s handmade products too. Local shops in nearby markets sell Taslima’s handmade fancy bags, mats, pouches and shopping bags as well.
Taslima reaches out to other families and communities in her slum. “Now I have an incredible goodwill in my community and feel proud to teach many others girls like me,” she explains happily. One of Taslima’s friends, named Shikha Khatun, also took coaching from Taslima and then joined her business.
“World Vision is really a friend of the needy people; I always pray that they can help these people all the times. I never forget the help that I got from World Vision and I am really grateful,” Jorina says. “God bless my daughters. They are not only my daughters but more than a son and I now feel proud of being of mother of them.”
Taslima adds, “World Vision Bangladesh is a shining hope for communities with the love, care and support that they do for the needy and poor people. I got back the rays of hope which I lost in the dark of hopelessness. I never forget the help and support we have got from them. Long live World Vision Bangladesh!”