In my 26 years of married life, I gave birth to five daughters in hope each time of giving birth to a boy. Every time I gave birth to a girl I would have to suffer negativity, shame and harassment from my husband and his family, being physically abused more times than I can remember because I was yet to bear a son. By the time Monia (my third daughter) was born, everyone living in my father-in-law’s house had taken part in torturing me repeatedly for being unable to provide a son; they saw it fit that I was starved and refused food as punishment. That was only my third daughter; you can imagine the treatment I received when I gave birth for the fourth and fifth time to daughters. More than ten times they drove me out from my father-in-law’s house. But each time I had no place to go and again and again I went back to my husband’s family out of desperation for the safety of my daughters.
I finally gave birth to a son, and what I thought would be the end of mine and my daughters’ suffering. But by the time my son was just three months old, my husband died. The cost to me was huge. All of our possessions and property had to be sold, to cover the cost of my husband’s treatment. All I had left were two cows. I sold them and gave my eldest daughter for marriage, with hope for a better life for her than I could provide. I then had no choice but to live on the streets with my daughters and baby son.
I am now at The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, living with the charity with my three daughters and son. My children can now go to school; Konika (my second daughter) is preparing for her Junior School Certificate examinations. I’m also being trained in tailoring so that eventually, when I feel ready, I can leave the village and make a good life for me and my children, earning my own income to be free and independent of the abuse and suffering we have experienced for most of our lives before we were taken in by The Sreepur Village. I am happy and I am safe and so are my children.