A tiny shed; five people to accommodate

IMG 3500aRekha Akhter, a 35 year old single mother, struggling through life. Abandoned 7 years ago by her husband, the only earning member, she was forced to seek shelter with her father.

He gave her a small piece of land and built a small hut in the village Rouhartak at Dhamrai, where she lived with her four children, Dolna (13), Asiya (10), and the twins Dilruba (8) and Md. Halim (8). Left to fend for herself and with five mouths to feed, Rekha worked as a day laborer, washing dishes and utensils at a decorator shop. Work opportunities, especially for Rekha were very limited in this village, and she barely managed to earn BDT 2500 ($30) every month. Her income was so meagre that there have been days where she could only manage a single meal for her family. Even in her toughest days, she was determined not to compromise with her children’s education. All of her four children went to school, the eldest was in class 7, the second daughter studied in class 4, and the twins went to class 1. Through support from relatives and neighbours, she somehow managed to keep them all in school.

Rekha’s parents were the only people to offer the least possible support for food and shelter during her tough time. Her inadequate housing made them vulnerable to rain, storms, robberies and any other natural disasters. The children could not concentrate on their studies because of the congested and unhealthy environment. “I became helpless with my four children when my husband left us and remarried. I could not provide food, shelter or any other basic needs for them. I have faced life’s cruelty with my young children” Rekha mourned, but she never let go of her dream of living happily with her children.

IMG 2156aIn December 2016, a lady from Rekha’s neighborhood who had previously received a new house from Habitat Bangladesh, advised her to seek help for house renovation from the organization. Through contacting her local CBO office, Rekha came to know that Habitat Bangladesh, under its KOICA funded project will be providing low cost houses free of cost as shelter for the poor. Rekha applied for a house and after proper invistigation, Habitat Bangladesh chose her as one of the recipients of a brand new house. In July 2017, Rekha shifted to her new house with her children. On that day Rekha’s face glowed with happiness and she said “Habitat Bangladesh has shown me the way to live life anew and I am very happy. I am no longer sad. I can live in peace with my children. I now have a self-confidence that has been born simply through the work and assistance of Habitat Bangladesh”.

This new house has brought new hopes and aspirations to their lives, which was something seemingly impossible in the past. Her children can now study and live comfortably. They now have the courage to hope that their untold dreams will be fulfilled one day. They rejoice in seeing their mother’s beaming smile, all signs of grief erased. The new home offers them the opportunity to save some money as they no longer have to spend on reparations. Rekha can now grow vegetables in front of her home ensuring greater food security. The new home has brought stability into their lives and has opened new doors to explore the life Rekha and her children can now have.

Rani’s home is her strength


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Imagine a day without basic amenities in life. A day without food, shelter, clothes, medical treatment or education. Imagine how challenging it is to struggle for a handful of rice every day. Imagine, you are sleeping in a sack that can fall down on you.

Rani Begum, a 33-year-old young lady lost her husband from blood cancer around 6 years back. She and her two sons live in the village Fuldi, under Gazipur district. Life revealed its harsh reality to Rani Begum and her kids after the departure of her husband who was the only earning member of the family. They used to live in an old shaded hut and could hardly afford food, clothes and other basic needs.  Rani’s mother in law was the only person to offer the least support for food and shelter during the tough time. Due to poverty, her elder son had to leave school and start working as an office support boy to generate some income for survival. Their inadequate house made them vulnerable to rain, storms, robberies and other natural disasters. The kids could not concentrate on their studies because of the congested and unhealthy environment. Moreover, being a young widow, Rani had to experience various socio-cultural threats as well. “I become helpless with my two kids when my husband died from blood cancer about six years ago. I could not provide food, shelter and other basic needs to my kids and I spent sleepless nights from that anguish. I have faced the cruelty of life as a young widow with two growing kids” Rani Begum recalls.

Work opportunities are very limited in the village of Fuldi, more challenging for women. Nevertheless, Rani managed to work as a housemaid for some families and hardly lived from hand to mouth.

DSC 2219Rani Begum heard about Habitat Bangladesh from her neighbors and applied for a home.  After the survey, Habitat Bangladesh built a new house for her under the KOICA funded project.  In August 2017, Rani Begum moved to her new house with her kids. “I can’t express my joy and happiness to have a brand new home for my family. This wonderful home has provided me the blessings to be safe and secured at any situation. My social status has been improved and my kids live in a comfortable and healthy environment. I am really thankful to Habitat Bangladesh and KOICA for transforming our lives” Rani said with a glow of happiness on her face.

This new home brought new hopes and aspirations in their lives which were something impossible and imaginary in the past. Her elder son has started school again beside his work. Her younger son is 13 years old and a student of grade 6, he dreams to become a cricketer in future. The new home offered them the opportunity to save some money as they don’t have to repair the house. Rani grows vegetables in front of her home which ensures some food security. The new home has brought stability in the family and has opened the doors to explore the life of Rani and her sons. 


Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh

  Level 3, House # 12, Road # 16/A, Gulshan- 1, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
 Phone:  + 88 02 8832945
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