How many sons-in-law can one family have? Two, five or ten? You will be astonished to hear that there are more than 45 sons-in-law in the Sreepur Village family. Every year, we celebrate Jamai Mela (fair of sons-in-law) on our campus, a day-long festival with our married girls (ex-Sreepur girls), and their husbands and children.
During the summer season, a typical Bangladeshi tradition is for people to invite their daughter, son-in-law and grandson. You may be aware that here in The Sreepur Village we fulfil the role of guardian to many orphaned children and even though many of the girls are married, we still show love, care and responsibility for them. This festival is a mark of our affection and support towards them. It gives an opportunity for the girls who have been married outside the area to visit their home-Sreepur Village.
This year we welcomed 20 families, many of which arrived the night before the festival. In the morning, the programme commenced with a breakfast of seasonal fruit and was followed by an introduction and short discussion on various topics. The most exciting part was the ball games, which saw all of the sons-in law and daughters getting involved. One of the highlights of the day was the delicious lunch and in the afternoon, the families left the campus with a gift and a smile.
Moury, one of our married girls came with her daughter and husband. We asked her what she thought about the festival. Moury said, “I left the village five years ago and because I now have a job I don’t get enough time to visit, but my heart always remains here. I do not have a house or parents so #TheSreepurVillage is everything to me. I can’t wait for their call and especially for this day because this day is just for us”.
Tiku, Moury’s husband said, “my wedding was very special. I married a girl and people used to say she was from an organisation, which didn’t bother me. The Sreepur Village treats me as a son-in-law like other families treat theirs. Pat is here. She is like other mothers. I love joining the festival."
For the last two days, all our children have been excited about this programme. They were able to meet with their older sisters, it really made their day.
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.