My name is Forida. My parents got divorced when I was three to four years old. I also have an older sister. Our stepmother was very cruel to us- not giving us food and not treating us well. We could not bear her torture anymore. My elder sister went to Dhaka to work at a garments factory and my father sent me to my grandmother’s house. My grandfather had died a long time ago and my grandmother had no means to feed us. She asked food from other people. We never had enough food. I was so hungry! Many times I ran away from my grandmother’s house because as a little child, I could not starve. But my grandmother brought me back. A woman helped me run away and she found a house for me to work in as a house helper. I was only six or seven years old, but I was forced to do all the household chores. Again I ran away.
Luck was not on my side. Wherever I went, I received mistreatment. I found another house but they were also same. I had to run away again. From that time I have spent my life in different centres for children. We spent our days selling candy in buses and on the streets. At meal time I bought food from the centre. The food we ate was not good and I was still hungry. Many times I asked God why He created me when I did not have enough food to eat.
Life in the street was not safe. One time a lady tried to sell me. People’s bad eyes were always there. I met my husband in the street. He is a disabled man. He cannot walk. He was a street beggar. I have no guardian. I married a disabled man because I know he won’t leave me. My husband did not earn enough to run the family. My starvation did not go away.
I joined Basha’s partner, Children’s Uplift Program. At first I thought I will learn tailoring and do work at home. So I joined CUP’s training program for tailoring training. But I could not leave them because of the love and care I received from them. When I graduated, I joined Basha Enterprise because of their working environment. My child is safe at day care center and I can work. Now I do not go hungry any more. When I sold things on the streets, I earned more money but there was no honor. I could not tell anyone about my work. Now I can invite my relatives to visit my office. They are very happy to see my work place. I can share my struggles and pain.
My life has been changed through this work. I am looking for a bright future. I will open a bank account and save money. Eventually I want to return to my village and start my own tailoring shop.
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”