Wednesday, 11 June 2014
She was in love. He was a good looking man with a stable job. He promised her that he would marry her and look after her for the rest of her life.
This news made Aaminahᶺ happy. She was never happy growing up. Aaminah’s father left her family when she was small and her mother re-married pretty soon after that. Even after her mother started working as a domestic worker in the village, there was never enough money to buy food, clothes and medicine. Aaminah remembered the constant feeling of hunger. It wasn’t long before Aaminah, a 10 year old, escaped to Dhaka city to look for a brighter future. She found work as a domestic worker.
Instead, the man took advantage of Aaminah and had no intention of marrying her at all. When her landlord found out about this, Aaminah was kicked out of her job. She met up with a girl who was a sex worker. She convinced Aaminah of a bright future with good money if she worked with her. Helpless, hungry and with no one else to turn to, Aaminah became a sex worker for the next 12 years. She was thrown into jail several times.
One day, a Children’s Uplift Program (CUP) worker found Aaminah and took her to its night shelter. Aaminah met many other women who told similar stories to hers. Some of the women were nursing newborns; some had mental and physical issues; others, like Aaminah, were escaping sex trafficking and prostitution.
The CUP team took Aaminah to a local health clinic for a check-up. The team also offered her counselling and invited her to enroll in a training program where she could learn literacy and vocational skills. Slowly Aaminah started to heal from her emotional and physical trauma.
SIM’s Girls off the Streets project, CUP, began in March 2008 to meet the needs of women and children who live and work on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. CUP’s vision is to see vulnerable children and mothers who have been in street situations receive holistic support and gain skills so they can re-integrate into society.
One of the ways CUP achieves this is through its training program for mothers with young children. The training includes literacy classes, teaching in life skills, parenting and vocational skills. When the women graduate from the training program, they have the opportunity to gain employment at CUP’s partner business, Basha Enterprise Ltd.
CUP is helping women like Aaminah to earn a stable income and gain the confidence and skills they need to leave prostitution. Aaminah is thrilled that she can now help other at-risk women and girls who have found themselves trapped in the sex industry.
Please consider making a donation to support our Girls off the Streets projects by following this link. Thank you! All donations over $2 to this project are tax-deductible.
ᶺ name has been changed
Free Event Resource Pack
You can help raise awareness, prayer support and donations for Girls off the Streets with your church, small group, friends, colleagues and family by hosting an event. Key upcoming dates to consider for your event are:
- Anti-Trafficking Day - 18 October
- International Day for the Abolition of Slavery - 2 December
Order a free resource pack containing a booklet, DVD, PowerPoint, poster, step by step instructions and more. You can use the kit to hold any type of event you like (eg a trivia event, dinner, movie night, craft workshop, art auction). Order your free resource pack by calling 1300 746 580 or contact us here.
- give thanks for the 13 women who have graduated from CUP’s training program in the last six months.
- for the mothers in the training program; that they would be able to care for themselves and their children and, when possible, reconnect with their wider families
- that CUP’s partner business would grow and flourish
- for the CUP team and for new staff as they settle in.
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