"I am a fighter who never gave up on their dreams no matter how challenging it became. The support I received, enabled me to turn my life around and create a better future for my family and I." - Modhumala, Programme Participant, UTTARAN
In traditional rural households, it is common and encouraged to get daughters married off early. Modhumala, who was 14 years old at the time, became a child-bride to Bindabon Das in Debrajpur village under Kaliganj Upazila of Jhenaidah District.
Bindabon was an extremely industrious man who made ends meet by catching fish in the rain, toiling in the sun as a day labourer, or tending to goats. Two years passed, and a baby girl was born. Before another year had rolled around, a son arrived soon after. Due to the lack of awareness and family planning, Modhumala soon became a mother of five and Bindabon was barely able to keep his head above water. No longer able to remain a casual bystander to her husband’s daily suffering, Modhumala decided to step into the battlefield with him to support him in catching fish and his day-labour activities.
Meanwhile, after undergoing UTTARAN programme’s Individual Livelihood & Enterprise Needs Assessment, Modhumala became a member of the programme. She attended training sessions on small businesses and received 150 bamboo canes and five chickens. She decided that the days of back-breaking labour in the harsh sun were over – she would run her small business from the comfort of her own home. Modhumala sold her small business assets worth BDT 10,000 and invested in purchasing livestock.
Currently, she possesses a goat which, upon giving birth, will augment her sustenance and gradually enhance her livestock and dairy yield. Alongside this, she also tends to a small homestead vegetable garden, cares for two ducks and twelve hens, and aspires to expand her poultry business. She is currently negotiating with a neighbour, and if all goes well, she hopes to lease a cow within the month.
Simultaneously, Modhumala has also been able to obtain a health card in her name with the help of her local SAJIDA Shastho Bondhu (SSB). Thanks to SSB's continuous monitoring, psychological counselling, and suitable medication, her mentally challenged son and husband are undergoing treatment at the static clinic and making significant progress.
Modhumala is filled with tremendous gratitude for organisations like SAJIDA Foundation that not only work for the development of marginalised women like her but also do so with kindness and empathy. She is now armed with new hopes for the future – she has dreams, plans, and a vision.