Volume 4 Issue 22| May 21, 2011|


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The spirit of a woman rickshaw-puller

A story of indomitable spirits is sometimes just not enough! Of course people commend the ability of facing the harsh realities of life, but putting forward a helping hand is rare. Rokeya is one such woman who lives with her family inside the grip of poverty. She single handedly hauls her family through everyday life. Rokeya pulls a rickshaw to make ends meet ends.

Azibor Rahman

Married to Saiful Islam back in 2000, Rokeya now provides for her three children and her bed ridden husband. She has been doing so for the past five months or so. Islam's sudden illness a year back has been the sole cause of the situation her family is facing. This woman of 35 could not find any other alternative, and so had to take up this physically taxing job that even most men would not be able to do. She carries on with this feat day-in-and-out swallowing her dignity and sense of shame. Our society does not look upon a man pulling a rickshaw with kind eyes, let alone a woman.

Not being able to stand to see her two sons and daughter starve, this woman from Baladipara village under Kaliganj Upazila in Jhenidah found no other way to earn the family's bread. She earns a measly Tk 80 to Tk 100 on a daily basis, out of which she has to give away Tk. 25 to the rickshaw owner. 'The children face malnutrition, but at least they are not starving! The husband is deteriorating in health, but at least he is not dying!' These are the only two thoughts this woman is allowed to have; otherwise all will be lost for her.

Even then, most people refuse to get on her rickshaw, as it is hard for her to haul all the weight at a steady-fast pace. And some just find it 'shameful' as she is a woman! Yet, Rokeya still swallows her pride turning a deaf ear to all the slander and carries on with those two thoughts: 'My children! My husband!'

Her dreams of sending the children to school have been squandered. “We can't even feed ourselves everyday. How can I possibly bear the cost of education for the children,” Rokeya said breaking down in tears. She hopes that a generous person will come to her aid someday. She dreams of the day when this person will give her children a chance towards education. But who will make her dream come true? Yes, people will commend the indomitable spirit of people, but seldom reach out to help


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