Sheli Begum, a single mother of two children, hails from the Dinajpur district situated in Rangpur Division, Bangladesh.
Seeking shelter Sheli arrived a Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, in May 2018 when her husband died in a road accident. Her husband was a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver. Sadly, road accidents in Bangladesh kill and permanently disable thousands of people each year.
After her husband passed away, Sheli was living with her in-laws, but the financial hardship made their lives miserable. Sheli told us, "Many times I asked my relatives for help, but they turned away from us."
Sheli and her two young children were desperate, hungry, and penniless when they arrived at Sreepur Village in 2020. As soon as they were settled at Sreepur, Sheli's children began their education, ate plenty of food, and spent quality time with other children. While Sheli's children were at school and immersing themselves in Sreepur activities Sheli enrolled in livelihood training programmes, participating in various skills but mainly focusing on garments and tailoring.
Sheli explained to us, "After my husband's death, I couldn't make my children happy, but after arriving at Sreepur Village, my children started to look forward rather than back on their past miserable lives."
When Sheli left Sreepur Village in mid-2022, the rehabilitation team helped her to find employment at a reputed garments factory.
With the new skills she acquired during her three-year stay at Sreepur, Sheli secured this job as a sewing machine operator. Now she has been working full-time at this factory for more than six months.
Sheli concluded our interview by saying, "Our lives have changed since leaving Sreepur Village and starting my new job. My children attend school and I can afford all their expenses with the money I earn from my salary. I must add I would not be able to provide a healthy life for my children if it were not for Sreepur Village and the three years we spent and developed in their care."
Her determination to take care of herself and her family on her own has made Sheli an example to the many other single mothers residing at Sreepur Village, Bangladesh.
Life can sometimes throw unimaginable challenges at us, but it's the human spirit's resilience and determination that can lead to remarkable stories of triumph.
Lia's life is a testament to this spirit, marked by adversity, courage, and ultimate success. Lia's story draws parallels to other stories of perseverance, and highlights the crucial role of organisations like Sreepur Village in transforming lives.
Out of the blue, at the tender age of 13, Chia found herself sitting on a bridal stage, about to marry a man who was 35 years old. Her parents had arranged the match, finding the man from their nearby locality in Bhairab.
He was a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businessman who occasionally sold vegetables and fruits on the street. Chia's aspirations and youthful dreams were abruptly interrupted by this sudden marriage. Instead of books, she found herself with kitchen utensils in her hands. She went from feeling like a princess to becoming a servant overnight.