Every year, usually every quarter, some of our mothers move to the halfway house which is one step closer to them being totally independent. They stay in the halfway house for three months and then The Sreepur Village's rehabilitation team start the final processes of discharging them. This autumn, on October 8, a number of our mothers will move to the halfway house. If you wander around The Sreepur Village, you can easily recognise which ones are moving on as they are armed with bundles of firewood, collecting as much as possible in preparation for cooking for themselves. The mothers are also currently completing their final training in tailoring, which covers all aspects from skills to business acumen. We recruit our mothers in such schemes so that they can earn a livelihood immediately after leaving The Sreepur Village.
On moving on, we talked to some of the mothers about their future plans.
Shanu, along with her two children, joined us in 2014 from a northern riverine area. Her two children Robi, in grade eight, and Runi, in grade four, are both in the foster house. Shanu said, “When my husband died, I worked for a small NGO in my own village but they closed it and, due to the floods, at that same time I also lost my home. So, all at once I lost everything. Then, I lived with my older mother but it was hard to survive. Consequently, I am here in The Sreepur Village and for the last three years, I have been attending training schemes for tailoring, day care centre, hand-looming and other activities. One of the most important and influential things I have joined was the literacy programme. Before I couldn’t write my name or calculate anything. Now, I can add up and manage my money. I have three months in the halfway house to prepare for the battle of life. My preliminary target is to make my hut suitable to live then I will join a garment factory and after a few years I will set up a tailoring shop and start cow rearing, well that’s the plan for now”.
Saleha, also welcomed here at the end of 2014, has been separated from her husband since her son’s birth. Her two children Nilima and Shafiul are both in primary school. She said, “here, in The Sreepur Village, I have received different types of training such as tailoring, small business, farming and homestead gardening. I have a plan to run a small tea shop and I will also do some agricultural work. I have a piece of land beside my father’s house, so I will try to make some of my earnings from there. My children are so little, it is a struggle to help them grow and lead my life.”
These stories are the same for all of our mothers, they are all preparing for a better life.
Ignorance and wrong beliefs surrounding disability, compounded with a negative and derogatory attitude of the community (including family members) have contributed to the marginal development in the disability sector in Bangladesh.