Sahera Begum (64), from Bahubol village of Nunkhawa union under Nageshwari Upazila of Kurigram district had a very happy family with her five family members including husband, son and 3 daughters. She and her husband were working hard but running the family with hardship. Her husband had a little land of his own where he was harvesting as well as working as a laborer in others’ land to get some extra income. Sahera was also contributing to the family income and saving by her earnings through her cattle. But suddenly they got into financial crisis when her husband became ill seriously and their family had no other way but to spend all their savings. Their crisis knows no bounds as for help they had to sell their household goods. But Sahera showed very strong willpower and spirit, she didn’t lose hope. She started cattle raising and participated in different works offered by many NGOs at different times. She started running her family by her own, and bearing the costs of her children’s education and also arranged treatment for her husband. She had a hope that her husband would be cured and their family would become solvent again. But alas! Her husband died.
Even though tolerating that grief Sahera started to fight with poverty for her children. Her children became young and respectively she arranged for the marriages of her 3 daughters. She had firm believe that her son had enough potential to help them survive. But shuttering all her dreams he came to know that the son had betrayed her who got married and snatched a piece of land without informing the mother. One day Sahera was ousted from her own house by her son that was unbelievable to her. Being kind one of her neighbors gave her a little shelter at his house. She made a dilapidated hut there and lived anyhow. By then she grew too old to earn like before so she had to pass those days almost empty stomach. She started working as a housemaid in her neighbor’s house for food only but still she had to solicit to others for clothes and medicines. One day she got the shelter washed away with flash flood along with other shelters, water wells and usable latrines of the community she lived in. Muslim Aid identified the area as one of mostly affected by flood. It received award of a project from UNDP titled “Early Recovery Facility”, funded by UKaid.
Under the project Muslim Aid organized the affected community and supported with shelter repairing and plinth raising assistance to make it resilient from further disaster. Sahera worked in a cash for work scheme of the project at the rate of BDT 200 per day and earned BDT 6000 taka at the end in addition to 10,000 taka for shelter repairing. She managed to get a piece of land for using from the nearby school, where she rebuilt a hut and started cultivating vegetables with the money she received from the project. Muslim Aid’s Nageswari team gave necessary orientation in groups to make effective use of their hard-earned money that was very much useful as she acknowledged. The project Engineer helped shaping the shelter foundation and structure in way that could be considered as disaster resilient. Gradually a cluster village has been developed in that area by accommodating around a hundred families where she found water well for fresh water and sanitary latrines. One day she mentioned, “Muslim Aid has come forward to look after my life that I could not expect from my own son. It is a new hope that I can lead a better life. I pray for the people of Muslim Aid and the people who has given money for me like other in my area.”