Minu Hasda- a sparkling example of integrated community support
It is true that as a result of the traditional development approach, poor, village people, minor ethnic group as well as women are always deprived of all types of opportunities and rights due to marginalized status in society. In that sense, Minu Hasda is the poorest of the poor women of the ethnic minority. She lives with her day lobor husband Paolus Tudu in Bazarpur village of Amarpur union in Chirirbandar upazila in the northern poverty stricken area in Bangladesh. Her family is of a hand to mouth economic status. Sometimes they pass days without taking any meal for lack of any income due to unemployment. They have a two years daughter.
The family maintains superstitions like children are the gift of god and nothing to do against it, herbal treatment is better than modern day medical treatment, additional food and regular check up are unnecessary during the pregnancy period. So they do not use any family planning method, as a result Minu Hasda became pregnant one after another. She did all of the household works during the danger situation and she did not take any essential dietary supplementation at that stage even she did not take any health check up. As a result, her health situation deteriorated quickly and an abortion took place after six months. But she became pregnant again after two months.
She took various traditional method and herbal medicine from village doctor under pressure of her husband and family. As a result, she turned to a case of severe anemia. In that situation, Ayasha Khatun, a paramedic of ERHSA project observed her for the first time and took Minus Hasda to Burihat Community Clinic (CC) for check up and then involved the PNGO (UDDOG), HWC, and Union Parishad for necessary support. After checked up, she was referred to Chirirbandar Upazila Health Complex. It is to be mentioned here that when she was passing 28 (twenty eight) weeks, she was in a danger situation due to severe anemia and they referred her to Dinajpur Medical College and Hospital for better treatment. Blood was her crying need. UDDOG staffs, Harun ar Rashid - a HWC member and Md Shahidul Islam, Secretary of Amarpur UP donated 4 bags of blood for her purpose.
Doctor Munni Begum of Dinajpur Medical College considered caesarian operation as a must for the wellbeing of mother and child safety within seven days. Her health situation improved after completion of all preparations. She gave birth to a male child of 2 kg weight all on a sudden on 18.11.2012. Mother and the neonate returned home after 16 days with a smiling face and fulfillment of satisfaction. She is committed to immunize her baby properly. She and her husband thanked a lot to HWC, Amarpur UP Chairmen Liakat Ali Sah, Uddog and VERC for standing beside her in the critical situation. She also told that it was really impossible on her as well as her baby’s part to survive in absence of heartiest cooperation of all around.
Community Participation Activates UP Standing Committee
“As an Imam of the mosque, I use to deliver religious messages to the Muslims during prayer, especially on the Jumma day (Friday). Bedsides playing the role of Imam, I am also the member of Union Education, Health and Family Planning Standing Committee of Baghuatia UP of Abhaynagar Upazila” said Mr. Afzal Hossain. As an elderly person most people listen to me and follow my suggestions. I have received health messages from the primary health care training organized by VERC and BKF. Then I started to deliver health messages to motivate community people to attain services from the government health service points. My reputation helped me to mobilize the community people at mosques, academic institutions, social and religious functions, etc.
During Khutba, the speech of the Imam, I generally talked about antenatal care and postnatal care (ANC and PNC services), importance of regular immunization (through EPI), breast feeding counseling, management of diarrhoea and malnutrition, distribution of Vitamin A capsule, identification and treatment of anemia in women and its relations with prayer citing verses from the holy Quran. After participation in the orientation sessions I included the issues of antenatal care and postnatal care (ANC and PNC services), regular immunization (through EPI), breast feeding and its impact on health and household economy more systematically.
He added, “My realization has been changed on antenatal care and postnatal care after getting messages in this regard through participation in a discussion session on health programme. It opened my eyes to correlate these messages to social issues. From that realization I am still continuing delivering those messages for the sake of the community people”.
The Imam said, “It was a superstition among people that ‘Anemia’, ‘Infant mortality ’, etc, are considered as ‘Bala mochibat’ as consequences of evil act of people. When the incidences of evil act increase God sends these diseases. Accordingly, it is also the symbolic message to people for remembering God more frequently and to remain away form evil tasks.
He also stated that some people called the Fokir (Spiritual leader) to help prevent the village from Bala mochhibat. Then the Fokir was given money for his work. “From my realization, I used to advice people to take proper treatment, get ANC and PNC checkup at their nearest health service center and maintain hygienic life to keep away all the Bala mochibats”, he said.
He said, “After receiving hygiene message, the community people became aware about the causes of health hazard and they have become used to get to the service points in times of need. The incidence of complication related disease of pregnant mothers has reduced substantially in the community. Despite increase of knowledge I am continuing to deliver messages for the sake of sustainability of the achievements. At present, I am regularly monitoring and visiting the communities to assess the status of use and sustenance of achievement of health service center”, he said.
Several times I emphasized on establishing a mechanism that would ensure participation of the respective community people which will lead people to sustain the achievement. As an Imam I will continue to give messages to people till Allah continues to bless me with that opportunity’, said Mr. Afzal Hossain.
His dreams that one day he will be able to establish a religious forum to share the knowledge of community people to address the health problems and remove them forever.
Now Shahin is dreaming of establishing his own workshop
Shahin Hossain, son of Md. Amir Hossain and Mrs. Rabeya Begum, a 17 years boy working in a grill workshop. His father is a day labour and mother is a house wife. Shahin is the elder son of his family, he has two younger brothers one of them is disable. He has been working here for the last three years. Shahin and his family migrated from Barishal to Savar due to poverty. Shahin loved to go to school from his childhood, his father admitted him to a Madrasa but his father’s illness forced their family to migrate and he was the only hope to work and earn for the family. Shahin did not like to work in the beginning because it was a very hard work i.e. he had to carry heavy rod, iron, cut them and furnish them by hammering and the work started from 8.00 am and continued to 10.00 pm.
However, the main problem was that he had to serve three years without any payment, employer provided him only one time food. After 3 years he was provided with Tk.1500/- per month as salary. In the year 2013, he admitted himself at Mozidpur VERC School in class 01. During last year Shahin received vocational training on welding and developed his skills. To see his expertise the employer increased his salary from Tk.1500- to Tk.5000. With a sparking smile Shahin was speaking that my employer got huge change i.e. previously he slapped, used slang for scolding. He thinks that motivational activities have made this change.
In the beginning he was taking Shahin education as a burden but watching the changes of Shahin, employer is very happy now. The project has provided first aid box to the workshop during 2013. Still now the box is functioning well and necessary medicine support is being provided by the employer. Now Shahin’s dream is to work hard and establish his own workshop.
Ratna and her dream
A 13 year old girl Ratna Akter is student of class two at Talbug VERC School, Savar. She came from a tiny village Tarabari under Pabna district. Her father Majid Ali is a hawker and mother Banesa Begam is a house wife. She has 2 brothers and 3 sisters. They were living in their village together. It was difficult for her father to manage all expenditure of the family. Under this circumstance her father sent Ratna to Savar as domestic worker and since then she has been working in a house as house maid. One day Ratna heard about a school where domestic workers’ can enroll easily and she also informed that the school is close to her work station. Due to her interest the teacher talked with Ratna’s employer. They also agreed to Ratna’s enrollment as a student of the school. Then she started her education. She comes to school regularly after finishing her work.
Before attending the school she could not talk nicely and make herself free with others. But now she has some positive changes and can nicely speak about anything as well as can read and write. Ratna has many friends in her school and they share their emotions with each other. Ratna’s employer is satisfied with her work and they gave a gold earring to Ratna.
She knows about the disadvantages of early marriage from life skill classes. Resulting that when her father arranged her marriage she disagreed confidently, not only that she shared with her family about her dreams. Ratna wants to be a teacher and teach those children who have no educational opportunity.
Mosque committee extended cooperation for establish school house.
Village name is Jamtail Kanadigi where is no any primary school , majority of illiterate and conduct their family through selling their labor, children do not go to school in nearest village due to distance. It is stand on Dhamaynagar union under Raiganj Upazila, district Sirajganj. Villagers came to know that VERC is going to establishing non-formal primary school for dropout and departing children from school. Villagers decided that they will established one school for their children but nobody are capable to provide a house for school, then they selected local somity ghar to use for school.
Last of all on 2012 villagers established a SHIKHON school and Mr. Rafiqul Islam becomes chairman of the school as their plan through VERC and created accesses education for their children. Parents are very much impressed for the school. School is functioning smoothly through their close supervision and monitoring. After not passing one year somity members started their activities in the school house as result schooling has been disturbing and SMC and parents facing a challenge.
They communicated local elected members and expressed with him. Local members Mr. Samedul Islam visited their school and appreciated to the school performance. Considering the interest of children education he agreed to allow some budget in terms of place for school establish. Local Mosque committee agreed to provide a space in front of mosque and established permanent SHIKHON School. Now community got a permanent house for school.