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.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its main mode of expression and communication.
At Sreepur we do not have an art therapist but we do have a resident artist, Milon, who often teaches therapeutic art in his classes as the majority of children that come to live at Sreepur have witnessed or been part of a traumatic experience.