Thursday June 19, 2014

Protecting vulnerable mothers in Bangladesh

Rabia lives in a secluded part of South Sunamgonj, Sylhet. She lost her husband eight years ago to hepatitis, leaving Rabia and her daughters all alone. Forced to beg door to door, sometimes the family went for days on end without food.

To be single woman in the rural areas of Bangladesh can be dangerous – and for Rabia, it certainly proved to be.

One terrifying night, she was woken in her bed to sounds of something breaking. When the drunk men who had broken into her home came into Rabia’s room, she tried to defend her daughters but they beat her. Her children were left at their mercy.

After that terrible night, she immediately married off her eldest daughter, who was only 14, to a local man – not because she truly wanted her to marry so young, but just so that she would be protected. She continued to live alone with her younger girls, afraid each night that the men might return.

“We were afraid and alone. I fear for my children, that they will be attacked or abused.”

Islamic Relief intervened, as we have done for thousands of women across Bangladesh. We’ve helped over 50,000 single women – many divorced or widowed – get back on their feet. Women are starting businesses, opening shops, weaving baskets and rearing cattle, so that they can support themselves and their families.

We provided Rabia with training in handicrafts and linked her to a market which buys her goods to sell. We also helped her open a savings account, giving her the money to buy tools, and provided financial support until she had built up her business.

Rabia’s daughter is now able to go to school, and dreams of becoming a doctor. Whether this dream is realised or not, with an education, inshaAllah she will get something we all want for our children: security.

Rabia said, “our family is delighted to be involved in the programme. My wish is to see Sajna become a doctor in the future, so that she can escape this suffering.”

This is how real change happens, using Islamic financial principles. Getting someone out of poverty means more than just making sure they have food, water and shelter – it’s more than an income and material provision; it’s peace of mind.

There are thousands of people just like Rabia still out there, afraid and alone.

This Ramadan, you can really change one of their lives – or maybe two of them! Alhamdulillah, thanks to match-funding from the UK Government, we can double all your donations this Ramadan if you give before 3rd August – that’s double the lives changed.

These are not a short term projects – long-term support is the only way we can make a real, lasting change. It costs just £45 to provide enough chickens for a family to start selling eggs, but for £270, we can give someone a training scholarship to learn all they need for a skilled job.

Donate before 3rd August, and help us get twice as many vulnerable women and mothers back on their feet around the world this Ramadan.

Find out more about how your doubled donations will help lift people out of poverty!

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