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A Mother Knows it ALL!


35-year-old Rejia was married off when she was just 14 years old. Having her first son at the tender age of 16 was a huge challenge for her as she was a child herself! Yet, with patience, she welcomed more kids into the family. By the time she heard of the SHOUHARDO II program in the village through a neighbor, Hasna, she already had her daughter of 8 years.

Rejia attended a meeting of the SHOUHARDO II program, which talked about violence against women and awareness of child marriage. Learning the adverse consequences of child marriage; moreover, having walked in that shoe herself, there was no looking back!

By the time her daughter turned 12, Rejia encouraged her to attend the program’s adolescent meetings. She innocently confessed that initially, her daughter did not want attend the meeting, however, after just the first session, she returned with happiness and excitement after learning so many things about adolescence in a friendly environment around other girls just like her. This experienced convinced her to keep attending all the other sessions.

Time went on and SHOUHARDO II program ended back in 2015. However, the family held the learning by heart and practiced every good deed. With the knowledge from the program, she set her mind up to invest in her daughter and three sons’ education. Her daughter now studies Nursing at Rangpur Medical College. Reminiscing the decisions she took for her daughter, she reveals with a subtle smile that, she would have thought of marrying her daughter off at the age of twelve or thirteen if she hadn't attended those sessions. Furthermore, with a profound ‘motherly pride’ she declares, "In the future, my daughter won't have to search for a husband , boys will approach her for marriage by themselves!” This time, the laughter rang out more joyously, even amidst the challenges they faced in supporting their daughter's education. Her husband works as a lumberjack, diligently setting aside a portion of his earnings for their daughter’s future. Each month, they scrape together 5000 taka to cover their daughter's fees and basic expenses in Rangpur.

Since her children were mere kids, Rejia struggled with maintaining the family with the very little earnings of her husband. From days of meal skipping to wearing torn clothes, Rejia has gone through harder times. With only education up to the 3rd grade, she understands the importance of education very well. This has cemented her determination to invest in her children’s education.

She sends a direct message to all mothers: "Let your daughters study and support them to make their future bright." She asserts, "Boys and girls have equal rights, and the same amount of money should be spent for both." 

Currently, Rejia is no longer a program participant of SHOUHARDO III DRR. But she has maintained good connections with other NGOs in the area. She has received training on disaster management and is a volunteer for disaster response. She followed the household level plinth raising of SHOUHARDO III DRR, for her own house. She firmly carries the learning of SHOUHARDO II program in her heart, as she excitedly showed all the papers with the messages of SHOUHARDO II hung in the tinned walls of her home.

Mothers like Rejia are the leaders and guiding lights to their daughters, so they can shine brighter. After all, a mother knows it ALL!

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