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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Embraced rather than ostracized



As a single parent living in abject poverty in rural Bangladesh, Ruma faced a tough choice.

She and her children could try to make a go of it living on their own, or they could all move in with her parents who were also poor.

Living on their own would most certainly put Ruma and her children at risk given that she had few skills and little or no income.

Living with her parents would mean placing the burden of her poverty on her parents, something Ruma did not want to do. Being unable to contribute to the household’s income would also put Ruma at risk of being ostracized or even abused within the community.

In the end, Ruma and her children moved in with her parents, the only real choice between the two very tough choices she faced.

Fortunately for Ruma, her children, and her parents, HOPE International Development Agency was working in the district of Pakhia where they live.

When HOPE first began working to help improve the health and well-being of women and children in Pakhia, more than one-third of households reported that their children were malnourished. Two-thirds of children in the district suffered from frequent fevers, and nearly one in five children suffered from diarrhea, typhoid, scabies, or pneumonia.

Today, because of the collaboration between HOPE and communities in Pakhia, 93% of households report that their children are better nourished and 78% report that they are consuming fruits and vegetables from their own gardens. In many cases, families are earning income with their gardening.

Ruma received training in the cultivation techniques needed in order to grow a variety of vegetables and fruits in a garden of her own. As her skills and garden grew, Ruma included more vegetables in the family meals. Today, vegetables are an important part of every meal, and as a result, Ruma’s children are now healthy and happy.

The training and skills Ruma possesses has also enabled her to earn income by selling a portion of her vegetable harvests at the local market. The income she receives helps support her parents and send her children to school.

Because of her success, Ruma is now the leader of a local community group and serves as a role model for others in her community looking for the inspiration needed in order to transform their lives.

Ruma is provider rather than a burden, and instead of being ostracized, she has been embraced by her community as an example of the amazing transformation that can take place when people receive the help they need.