Throughout my life, I never ever thought I would have a decent day. Now, I don’t have to think about my next meal, my security and where I will sleep. I have seen some awful things. What have I seen? I do not want to remember those days”, says Munia one of The Sreepur Village mothers. Eight months ago, she was welcomed into the village with her five month old baby girl. Let’s hear, from her, how she found a decent life at The Sreepur Village.
I didn’t see my father because my mother was living on the streets and she didn’t see him for quite a while. So, I was born and raised on the streets. At one point my mother got married for the second time, my stepfather was not kind to me. Both of them tortured me and one time when I was 12 or near this age, he started to sexually harass me. I ran away and started to live on the streets again. After several days, I got close to Sharmin’s (my daughter’s) father. He was also a street boy and used to help me a lot. Eventually, he raped me and I became pregnant. I didn’t have the option of an abortion. Right up until then I was on the streets. Then, with the help of The Sreepur Village Urban Project (street children project in Dhaka), I was admitted to another organisation to be able to give birth. Five months later, after the birth of my daughter, I needed to get out from the organisation but because I lived on the streets, they did not want to give the child to me. They wanted to keep her, but why? She is my girl. I conceived her not them; I wanted to bring her with me. Then they suggested The Sreepur Village, which is a place where you can live with your baby securely for up to three years and where you can get livelihood and literacy training for your future.
Currently, that’s where I am. It’s a new and SAFE world to me. It’s far away from the outside tough and cruel world. Everyone respects me. Now I can write my name - oh, I never imagined that was possible! After two months, according to my reintegration plan, I will receive tailoring and garments training. I don’t EVER want to live on the streets again. I want to live in this nearby area. There are lots of garment factory jobs I can get employment from. I want to live with my daughter and not on the streets again, and now because of The Sreepur Village, I have a dream.”
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.