A recent BBC investigation https://bbc.in/35fECOh has found children as young as seven are being groomed to sell sex in one of the world’s largest licensed brothels.
This is the story of one of our mothers who lived in this notorious brothel in Bangladesh and who, with the support of The Sreepur Village charity, has been able to turn her life around and stay safe with her family, providing for their future without the future fear of living in poverty or being harmed.
“I am Roma Das, I am 35 years old and I have three children. I used to live in the notorious Daulatdia brothel but since 2017 I have been living at The Sreepur Village. All my children go to school and I am working in a garment’s factory.
I was brought up in Kustia, Bangladesh and after 12 years of married life my husband died. As soon as he was gone my life became unbearable. I worried about my children’s future how they would eat, go to school and stay healthy. I tried desperately to get a job, but nobody would help me - my parents also died so I had no support and my husband’s family treated me like a slave. I often went without food but not being able to feed my three children left me with no choice, so in desperation and with the promise of a future I went to Doulodia brothel.
I was 27 years old when I lived in the brothel and I stayed there for almost three years. It was and is the worst story of my life. Every day I had to serve three to four men. When I realised my children were witnesses to such things, I worried that they would grow up learning bad things so this time I decided to go to a normal community.
My Daulatdia life was like a war field, people came and payed for my services, but they treated me like a slave. My earnings were split between myself and the brothel leader, so after such promises of earning for the future, I in fact earned very little.
After leaving the brothel I went to work in an office as a messenger, but I still could not afford to pay the fees for my children’s education. One day I heard about The Sreepur Village and decided to go there.
My dream was to be able to support my family independently and thanks to The Sreepur Village both my eldest boy and girl are now studying in the community school. I hope they can learn about the world and that they never have to go through what I did. Please pray for my children.”
In 2018, with the aid of CIPRB and one of their trustees, Becky Horsbrugh, the Sreepur Village started to run swimming lessons in their pond in the village grounds. The lessons, since this date, take place every year during the months of June and July, and are now taught by a number of Sreepur staff who have since been trained to facilitate the programme each year.
Approximately sixty children, aged 6-12, take part each year. They will learn how to swim 25 metres freestyle, tread water or float for 30 seconds as well as perform a rescue from dry
land. As half the number of deaths from drowning occur in 1-5 year olds, having an older child trained in dry-land rescue is pivotal in striving to keep this devastating number down.
It's British Science Week, 11th 20th March, and one of the activities that the Sreepur Village runs is the creation and nurturing of sack gardens.
This is an aspect of the Mothers Talking Everyday Science project and is a particularly important activity because when the mothers return to mainstream society they will be experienced in how to prepare a container in which to grow food plants and how to care for them.