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Life in Slum: Building Future with Sewing Machine

“I had a deep interest in education from my childhood but my parents were so poor that they couldn’t afford the educational expenses. I had completed my fourth standard from a village school. After that I quit school because of poverty”, said Jahanara Begum, a 32-year-old mother of two children.

Jahanara Begum is the only daughter of her parents. Her father Abdur Rashid is a fisherman and mother Bibi Ayesha is a housewife. Her parents are illiterate. They are from Bhola district which is located in the coastal area of the southern part of Bangladesh.

“I got married when I was only 16 years old. My husband’s name is Hiron who is physically handicapped. He is an inborn mute and can’t walk properly. I had struggled a lot at my husband's place where we were living with his parents. One day we took a decision that we will move to Dhaka for our better future. When we came to Dhaka Hiron struggled a lot to find a good job. He couldn’t communicate with people properly because of his disorder. For the betterment of our family, I joined a garment factory. That time I gave birth to my son Monir. Very soon my husband got a job in a workshop where he had no need to communicate with others. I quit my factory job and started working as a housemaid so that I could spend more time with my family”, Jahanara was describing her struggling period.

Jahanara has a tragic story of losing her son. She is living in the Chalantika slum with her family which is a floating slum at Mirpur in Dhaka. Her house is made of bamboo and underneath the house, there’s a lake. Since she had to work in the garments factory for earning money, there was no one who could take care of her kids. One day, accidentally her kid fell down and died by drowning into the lake.

“Pain never left me alone! I went to the garments factory as usual kept my son in the house. He fell down into the lake. There was no one who could survive him. I lost my son forever…”, Jahanara started crying.

After this terrible incident, she left the factory job. At present, they are living in a tiny hut in Chalantika slum. Their room always remains dark even during day time because of the poor ventilation system. Sanitation is a big problem as every six-family has to use one common toilet. Here in Chalantika slum accommodation is very unhealthy. In Dhaka city, the accommodation system has turned into a full-blown crisis.

“I heard about the literacy session of CSCDP Center from one of its community worker. I had participated in a couple of sessions organized by ADRA and I got my sewing training from CSCDP. Then I attended all of their programs such as health session, literacy session, and some problem-based workshop,” said Jahanara. “At present, I take orders to make clothes as I have a sewing machine and training. Now, I can financially contribute to my family,” she added.

All her life Jahanara has been fighting against poverty to obtain the basic needs of a human being and regretting about education. She couldn’t study because of poverty. She knows the hardship of an illiterate person, that’s why she wants to make her children educated for their better future. She got this inspiration and motivation from CSCDP center. Now, Jahanara Begum is very grateful to ADRA Bangladesh.

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