Thursday, 13 February 2020
When Minu* first walked through the doors of the Children’s Uplift Program (CUP) in Dhaka Bangladesh, she cradled her little son Assim*. The homeless mother was struggling to support herself and her son due to the turn of events her life had taken. Minu spent her days begging near shopping stores and religious meeting places in Dhaka city. Minu was not able to hear or speak properly and her eyes were full of despair.
Minu was born in a remote village and her father died when she was a baby. A few years later, Minu’s mother became unwell and she was unable to care for her anymore. At the age of 10, Minu was taken to the city to work as a house helper. When she became a teenager, she worked in a garment’s factory. While working at the factory, Minu became pregnant and when her pregnancy became noticeable, she was fired. The father of the baby left her with no goodbye. Although her neighbours helped her during the delivery of the baby, they could offer her nothing more.
With no one else to call on for help, Minu was forced to start begging to relieve her hunger. One day while she was on the streets, a CUP worker spotted Minu and her baby and brought them in. Hopeless and with no other options, Minu was enrolled in CUP. With the small stipend provided at CUP, she rented a small room to live with her child.
The Children’s Uplift Program is a hub of hope for women and their children on the streets of Dhaka. CUP takes a holistic approach to working with children in high-risk situations and recognises that to help them, they must also walk alongside their mothers. By providing support and vocational training to mothers, women are empowered to find alternative employment and create a more stable home environment for their children.
While Minu was attending her training at CUP, the team noticed that Minu’s hearing was very poor and her language was difficult to understand. She had somehow learnt to read people’s lips but struggled to comprehend what was being taught. Nevertheless, Minu is very intelligent and her intuition had helped her since her childhood to bear her hearing impairment.
One CUP worker took Minu for a medical check-up and the doctor prescribed hearing aids. Now, Minu can listen to the life skill lessons at CUP and the reading of His word. She is also able to hear the chatter of her peers at CUP. Minu’s face broke into a beaming smile when she first properly heard the encouraging words from the CUP team.
Minu probably thought there was no path for her to make a good living for her child. Now, little Assim laughs, plays and dances at the CUP day-care. Minu has received the invitation to know the one who makes a path where there seems to be none. He saw Minu and Assim and brought them to CUP.
*Names changed to protect their identities. Representative image used.
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