This is the tale of a woman with two children who with her strong will and mental strength has overcome her disability. She is now popularly known as a self-reliant woman in Magura, although at one time she had to work as a housemaid in her village as her day-labourer husband was unable to feed the family due to their extreme poverty.
But the bad days of this woman are now over. Though she works now to maintain her family, she lives a dignified life and her two children go to school and she can easily say to anybody, “I have little want now, I am happy, happy.”
Not only that, this woman's success has raised hopes in many women of her village.
Remarkable success of the physically handicapped Jolly Begum is now a matter of discussion for many. Even government officials from the district town of Magura come to remote Khalia village in Mohammadpur upazala to talk to her, but she has little time. She remains busy either with her sewing machine or in talking to her clients who come for taking delivery of garments left with her for sewing.
Jolly, daughter of landless labourer Anaruddin Molla, became disabled at the age of three when polio crippled her right hand and leg. Normal for such an illiterate poor family, she did not go to school. At the age of only 14 she was married to labourer Mohan Molla of the same village.
As days passed, their sufferings increased due to abject poverty. Her husband failed to feed the family of four. They had one son and one daughter.
“My son Tariqul tried to work as a labourer and earn something. But it is hard for a minor boy to find work”, she told me during my visit to her house. They managed to build a tin-shed last year.
Fortune smiled on them about four and a half years ago. Officials of Action on Disability and Development' (ADD), an NGO working for the disabled, came to the village. They trained her on tailoring and gave her a sewing machine for free.
She started with making 'baby garments'. Her husband sold those to local market at cheap rates.
She now gets order for all types of readymade garments from traders of far away places.
“They pay me in advance”, Jolly said with a happy smile.
“Now I do not feel very bad for my disability. I have learnt to live with it and work in spite of it.
Nowadays I earn Tk. 6000 Tk. 7000 a month. My son and daughter go to school and my husband helps me in my work. Both of my children are now in class six.” Her income increases during occasions like the Eid and the Puja.
Local elites, journalists and officials often visit Jolly, whose success has raised hopes in many in Khalia and neighbouring villages. She is certainly an inspiring example for all.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006