Women in Bangladesh are a cloistered lot. Most look after the house and take care of kids while their husbands go out to work. Some husbands, we’ve discovered, leave and never return. Or they leave and come back, dead. Or they leave, come back, and die unexpectedly.
What happens then? Some women fall apart, get kicked out of their homes, lose their kids and generally, lead miserable lives. Others rely on the goodwill of their relatives. A small handful – like Nasrin – decide to take things into their own hands.
Nasrin, if you remember, is Abdul Wahab’s wife. We met during our most recent trip to Dhaka. She had just lost her husband and was clearly in distress. She didn’t say much that morning. Seemed a bit shy. But a few days ago, she called Mohsin, our translator, to seek help.
Nasrin, you see, has a plan. She wants to learn how to sew. She’s even found someone to teach her – two lessons a week for the next six months, for 2,000 takas. That’s less than S$50. Fifty life-changing dollars. Nasrin thinks that with some sewing skills and a sewing machine, she’ll be able to support herself and her two young daughters.
We think Nasrin is on to something. Bangladesh is a major manufacturer of garments. With proper training, Nasrin should be able to find a job easily. With a sewing machine, she would be able to work from home, enabling her to take care of her kids at the same time.
Yesterday, Mohsin came over to our house and we had an extended chat about Nasrin. We like her plan. We think other widows should consider learning how to sew too. And we think that Nasrin, capable Nasrin, might be able to teach them once she learns the craft herself. Perhaps we can find a sponsor for, oh maybe five or 10 sewing machines and they can eventually start a small workshop. Widows, helping themselves. We like the idea a lot. A volunteer is drawing up a proposal and plans to speak to some funders about this.
But for now, let’s just focus on Nasrin, shall we? She’s the one who came to us with the idea to begin with. She needs a sewing machine. A new one costs about S$300 in Dhaka. I’m sure she’ll be happy with a portable secondhand one as well. I’m making a personal appeal to YOU, to chip in. It doesn’t have to be much. A few bucks here, a few bucks there… and whaddya know? We’ve helped a young mother and her two daughters. Lianain Films will start the ball rolling by pledging to pay for Nasrin’s lessons.
Drop us a line if you’d like to help – contact [at] lianainfilms [dot] com.
On a separate note, here’s a big thank-you to the kind people who donated so generously to Maloti.
Hoh Chin Cha
Gavin MacLaren and Lisa Button
THANK YOU, for making a difference.