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Bangladesh: sad story with a happy ending

As I went traveling to a few districts in Bangladesh on a recent trip, I met many families who were struggling to feed their children. I met a family in Khulna district who had not eaten for two days willing to share their story with me.

Bharati is 19-years-old. Poverty has made her family homeless; they were taking shelter in a church. Born to a Hindu family, she has changed her religion to Christianity as a show of gratitude to the institution which has given her and her family shelter. When I entered the room which they now call home, her daughter Anthara had already gone to sleep, hungry. Her husband Dukke was lying on a mat pondering what he should do next to feed her family.

He had lost his job for standing up for injustice.  The owner of the three wheeler van ( cart) he was driving had been taking the lion’s share of the daily earnings. Dukke confronted the owner and that cost him his job.

Bharati’s neighbours are also poor, so they can’t help. Bharati looked to Save the Children to help make a dramatic change to her child’s life. Her child Anthara held on to her only toy — a plastic ball — which she was too weak to play with. Her mother has dreams for her; that she will get an education and will be respected by everyone in the community.

I found it hard to interview a family about hunger when they had not eaten for two days — I felt it was utterly insensitive to ask about it. My translator Anika  Rabbani and I encouraged Bharati that things would get better for her family and that she would be able to realise all her dreams for her daughter.

We met Bharati on the 17th of July. A day later Save the Children found a job for her husband. And that made all the difference.

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