This is the empowering story of Rima, a woman who was welcomed into The Sreepur Village in 2015.
I was extremely insecure before coming to The Sreepur Village. My husband was married to one of my close relatives, which was socially and religiously illegal. When I found out, he started mistreating me and he tortured me for a whole year. I could not tolerate it anymore so I sued him but then he started threatening me and when he was in prison, his family threatened me to withdraw the case. I didn’t, nonetheless the entire experience completely ruined my life. I couldn’t sleep well so I met with a psychotherapist who put me on medication for two months.
However, at that same time and with the help of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad (a women’s human right’s organisation of Bangladesh), I was able to join The Sreepur Village family. I call the Sreepur Village my second family because after my mother's contribution to my life The Sreepur Village’s contribution is the upmost.
At first, The Sreepur Village gave me and my two sons shelter where, for the first time in ages, we felt safe and secure, and within two months of coming here, I was finally able to recover mentally. Then gradually I started to plan my future. I was a little bit stressed about the various training schemes on offer but the rehabilitation team helped me a lot. Initially, I was in the Baby House (a place that looks after the young children) then I attended the tailoring training scheme. I knew how to operate a sewing machine but didn’t have much interest in it but the rehabilitation team suggested that if I learnt it properly then I would be able to make my own business. I liked that idea and went on to receive three types of training, i.e. tailoring training, small business (Grocery shop) and tailoring business shop (Tailors and clothes shop).
Besides, the sewing work, I now know how to run a business. We buy clothes from the market; sell them to consumers and also offer a tailoring service. It makes a good profit and I learnt all of this during my training at The Sreepur Village. For one year I was the ‘Leader’ so I paid close attention to every detail. (As a part of women empowerment a ‘Leader’ is on hand to help the other mothers in their activities as well as be understanding and supportive).
The Sreepur Village teaches everything you need to know about life. I gave birth to my sons but it was The Sreepur Village who taught me how to behave with them and after the training; I understood the trainer to be right. Before, my behaviour towards my children was not right. Our society is not women-friendly and we are not treated respectfully. The Sreepur Village trained us how to behave in society. I really loved this training.
One of my important decisions was to register at the school. Now, I’m in grade ten and next year I will take the SSC (Secondary School Certificate) examination from the Open University (Government education institution for mass people). If I pass it will be a great achievement in my life and I will have the opportunity to apply for different jobs.
For the last two years, I have been working as the President of the Sreepur Village Mother's Association. I help the new mothers to adjust to their new environment and act as a judicator if any disagreements should arise.
I can happily say that all the training I received on life and livelihood has really developed my cognitive abilities. Now, I can think and behave rationally.
With the help of The Sreepur Village, I have enrolled my eldest son in a residential school where he will study grade 6 and just last week, I interviewed for a job. If they appoint me then I will join them. If not, then I will return to my village and start a tailoring business and homestead gardening. That’s the plan for now. I know The Sreepur Village will follow me for the next two years so I do not have to live in fear any longer.
For everything that The Sreepur Village has done for me, I call them my second family.
We share with you a story of Sharifa, a mother who has had her fair share of struggles in life and who recently, along with her family, visited Sreepur to share with us her successes in life.
The sudden death of Sharifa's husband in late 2004 left her as the sole provider for her four children. With no one to turn to for help, Sharifa felt lonely, scared and desperate for her family's future survival.