Sewing the dreams of my children

By: Shabir Hussain

Parul Begum, 30, doesn’t have dreams of her own, but she has dreams for her children.

The rhythm of the sewing machine is quick with the speedy foot paddle. Parul Begum's legs never get tired running the machine because she knows that only a good production of bags can secure the future for her son Tazim, age 11, and daughter Tasnim, age 7.

Parul Begum was married at only 13-years-old and could not complete her studies, so she wants her children to become highly educated.

Parul Begum was married at only 13-years-old and could not complete her studies, so she wants her children to become highly educated. Her husband Mozammel Haque, 35, is a mason and earns very little money, not enough to support the family.

She started working as a house maid and earned BDT 700 ($12 USD) per month, though when she became a mother  she stopped working.

After her daughter was born in 2009 it became harder to live in their single room rental. They did not have a kitchen and had to use a common toilet of the community.

Most of the families had problems finding work, lacked awareness about literacy, and had unhygienic washing and health practices. Many children were malnourished.

Three years ago World Vision ran a survey in their community and selected the families most in need to help them become economically stable. To address these objectives the Child Safety Net project conducted a three-day training on sewing for 48 women for the first round. After the successful completion of the training the project supported each of the participants with a sewing machine as an income generating activity (IGA) support.

Under the project there is a child friendly space where vulnerable family’s children can attend pre-education lessons. Parul Bagum daughter Tasnim enrolled in the CFS.

In 2014, a second IGA session was organized for another 20 women. Parul Begum was one of them. After the successful completion of the training, the project provided a sewing machine to each participate.

"At the beginning I earned BDT 1000 ($12.70 USD) per month but now I can cut the bags by myself so I can earn more than BDT 2000 ($25 USD)," explains Parul Bagum.

"World Vision also gave me training on parenting skills and my children got training on hand-washing. Now they don't get sick as easily," Parul Bagum says.

She opened a bank deposit account and saves BDT 1000 ($12.5 USD) per month.

"I want my children to be well educated. I will help them to fulfill their dreams. Tazim wants to be an officer and Tasnim wants to be a teacher. I have also assigned a private teacher for their study," said Parul Begum with a smile.

Her husband Mozammel Haque is currently employed as a tile worker and finally earning well. They repaired their house and built a new room and a kitchen. So children have separate room for their studies too.

Parul Bagum, along with many other families, changed their lives through the benefits of the income generating activity support.