Volume 2 Issue 47 | December 20, 2008 |


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From Jhenidah

Handicapped but not defeated

People take down our names and go away but we do not get help from anyone or any organisation. Now we want work for our survival”, said the eldest of three sisters- Rupali Khatun of Kapashatia village.

The three sisters, all of who have had stunted growth, are Rupali, 26, Anjira, 24, Rehana, 22 and Rikta, 15. They are daughters of Izzat Ali of Kapashatia village. Izzat's Ali's wife Maharjannessa is also physically disabled.

There is no one to provide for the family. There is great hardship and starvation in their existence. Izzat Ali's eldest son died just after birth. Later, four daughters were born one after another. Three daughters were born stunted. Rikta was the only normal one. Rupali and Anjira are in class ten. Rehana is also literate.

Their younger daughter Rikta will sit for her SSC examination next year. Izzat Ali owns a small piece of land where he lives with his wife and four daughters, ill clad and ill fed. He could not marry his daughters off to anybody due to their physical condition. “Nobody wants to marry my daughters”, he said.

Maharjannessa, mother of the handicapped daughters, said that a handsome amount of money was needed to marry off a beautiful daughter but her daughters were handicapped. On top that, they didn't even have the financial means. They starve every day. Rupali has been afflicted with a number of diseases. It has not been possible to treat her due to lack of money. The parents cannot give their daughters two meals a day. Things don't look too bright. Their second daughter Anjira Khatun has lost all her teeth by the age of 20 due to various diseases. All sisters have lost some teeth.

Nobody really seems to care about them. They are not given any kind allowance. They are deprived of all government facilities. Frequently the public officials take down their names and assure them of relief which never arrives.

The eldest sister Rupali has said that they want work, not help. Each sister knows how to sew with a needle. They earn a little something by sewing and that feeds them to some extent. They believe that they could have done a whole lot better if they had a sewing machine.

Rupali demands that the government give her a job to make things easier on her father. She told journalists that she has applied to the Jhenidah Deaf and Dumb Development Centre for a job.

Mojnul Azam, Chairman of Kapashatia Union, said nobody had informed him about their poverty and tragic condition. He added that he would try his best to extend his helping hand to them.

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