From a distance it seems like a simple and common life story of a mother in Bangladesh. But when you have spent some time with a mother you discover how dreadful her history is. In poverty-stricken Bangladesh, mothers are often experiencing inexplicable trouble. We travel to find mothers who are in need of help from The Sreepur Village. They are suffering from familial, social and economic difficulties. These underprivileged mothers and their children want to get rid of this poverty, social stigma, trauma, etc. and we, The Sreepur Village, are trying to help them.
Zahanara is 30 years old. She is a Bangladeshi woman who lives on a river island. Zahanara lived on an island in the middle of the river Zamuna but when we visited her, she was in her father’s house on the bank of Zamuna, both areas highly susceptible to flooding. When she was just 14 years old her father married her to a 40 year old man. Primarily, she was fine with her husband. Zahanara and the family wanted her to have a baby by the time she reached the age of 17 but her husband refused. Zahanara was trying to convince him for three years but failed. She knew at this point that her husband would not give her the child she wanted and needed to feel secure.
Zahanara and the family had to pack their bags, their animals and whatever belongings they had to move to another place because of river erosion. The following year they lost most of their belonging’s due to the sudden river erosion. This was when the problems really started for her; her husband started pressuring her for dowry which developed into torturing Zahanara as punishment. Zahanara had dreamed of a happy life but her husband along with his family members made her life hell. After two years of torture, she came to her father's house for shelter and divorced her husband.
For the second time she got married, this time to a man more than 50 years old and she was now his third wife. Her new husband had many sons and daughters from his previous marriages. They pressured Zahanara to leave their dad, she wasn’t welcome. Eventually Zahanara gave birth to a child but sadly at the same time her husband became ill. There was no one to help her husband pay for the treatment he needed. So Zahanara sold all her belongings to pay for the treatment but her husband died one year later.
After that, the children of her husband’s previous families drove her out of the home whilst relentlessly beating and abusing her. At that point again she returned to her father's house. Her father is a freedom fighter; he gets some allowance from the government. Zahanara’s two brothers were sick and her father was unable to run the family resulting in him asking for help from the local community. This is how our social worker heard about Zahanara and decided to visit to see if we could help. She is now anxiously siting tight to be welcomed into The Sreepur Village. We will provide you with an update on how this unfortunate mother is doing once she has settled into life at The Sreepur Village, we are hoping she will be much happier here and will have a chance at creating a happy life for herself, after the many years of sorrow and pain.
It was a bright and sunny day on the 12th of March when Sreepur Village hosted day one of the girls' cricket tournament.
This #WomensDay we share with you Akhi's story of determination and how she is embracing equity in the face of adversity.