"International Day of the Girls 2013: Stories from CARE Bangladesh - Sonali Akhter"
07 October, 2013
Sonali Akhter is 11 years old, the youngest of her four sisters. Their financial condition was sound and they were well-known as a happy family. Mr. Shaheed Miya, father of Sonali was working in a nongovernment development organization and earned money that was sufficient for them to live. Moreover, another three daughters of Shaheed also worked in garments factory. Suddenly, Mr. Shaheed died of heart attack when he was 39 years old. Hazera Begum, mother of Sonali, gradually spent everything they have, because of the marriage ceremony of her three daughters. Her daughters left the house as they have married. Only Sonali lived with her mother, but they have no income source and they passed a miserable life.
Hazera Begum started to break bricks in daily basis at construction sites. Her income was not enough to live for both of them. So, she tried to getting a job for her daughter Sonali in a garments factory, but her age did not permitt her to work. When there was no alternative for them, Sonali started to break bricks with her mother from the age of 8. At present, they have been working in contract basis and earn 4000 to 5000 taka per month. Sonali previously worked with her mother from 8 am to 1 pm.
After admission of Functional Education centre, she changed her schedule and started working with her mother from 11 am to 4 pm. Her mother told us that she was informed from a neighbor about the education project of DAM technical supported by CARE Bangladesh. She also known that there is an opportunity for the working children to receive basic education and professional training beside their work. She decided to enroll her daughter to getting this opportunity. She added if her daughter gets a job after completion of the course and training, then it will be keep a word of her late husband, because her husband wanted to admit her daughter in formal school.
Sonali said us that she didn’t know reading, writing and counting when she admitted (January, 2012) this school; but today (August, 2012) she is capable of doing all three and calculate their daily and monthly expenditure against income. She express that she has no brother who will take care her mother. So, she is responsible for her mother. She is confident that after completion of the course and training she will get a job and led a dignified life. She doesn’t agree with the concept of early marriage though her elder sisters all got married early.