"International Day of the Girls 2013: Stories from CARE Bangladesh - Sharmin Akter"

07 October, 2013
Sharmin Akter is 14 years old. Her father Mr. Abul Hossain was married twice. He has two sons and a daughter from his first wife. Sharmin is the first out of three daughters from second wife. Financial condition is not sound as they live from hand to mouth. Mr. Hossain is a day labor and his wife is a house servant. Sharmin didn’t get opportunity to go any educational institution as she was responsible to taking care of her younger two daughters. Side by side financial solvency and lack of proper awareness were other issues.

Shomiron Begum mother of Sharmin heard about Functional Education under WCP-II of Dhaka Ahsania Mission as the learning centre is near from her home. Initially she communicated with Centre Facilitator, Shahina and discussed with reference to the requirement, class duration and the prospect of this course. She was very excited to enroll her daughter in the centre so that- after completion of the course Sharmin will get a job opportunity in formal sector. Sharmin got admitted and continued her studies in regularly. She had no preceding idea of schooling system; but after few months of enrollment she became capable to reading and writing including counting.

Suddenly, Sharmin informed that her father Mr. Hossain is going to arrange her marriage. Initially- Sharmin was upset and tried to postpone it, but she didn’t know how it would be possible. She firstly informed Centre Facilitator, Shahina for her suggestion. Centre Facilitator and concern project Supervisor tried to influence Mr. Hossain to alter his decision, but Hossain did not relent. Then, with the help of Community Committee, a meeting was held with Mr. Hossain, father of Sharmin. Everyone tried to motivate him and told him about the law regarding the age of marriage and the consequences of not following it. Finally, he changed his decision. He gave his word to the bridegroom that after certain time the marriage ceremony will be held:- groom’s side was also convinced and agreed with the statement.

Sharmin was happy and grateful to everyone in her community for taking the necessary steps to help her continue education as well as her career. After completion of the course, Sharmin wants to get vocational training on tailoring so that she slowly but surely become self dependent.
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