‘Women of Strength and Courage’
Encounter the 10 most outstanding examples of women full of courage, strength, love and loyalty. As you will explore and travel through the cities of all these women, you will know how hard their lives are as well as the circumstances that leads them to their ultimate acts of courage and still remain strong. In these stories, you will meet some fascinating, heroic and relentless women who each possess a beautiful story in their hearts which is worthy to share with the world.
Presenting 10 real-life stories which will melt your hearts and inspire bravery in yourselves.
Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash
The day I was born, no one even touched their food, as I was the fourth daughter of my parents. My black skin color made the situation more miserable for them. My three elder sisters were fair, tall and slim. I was clearly a burden for my poor parents, everyone told me that throughout my childhood. Sometimes I heard my mother telling my father that bringing me into their life was a curse. So I started praying to God, almost every day I prayed to make me a little bit fairer, taller and slimmer. My father managed to fix my marriage by giving false promises to the groom. The kind hearted guy married the ugliest girl of our village. Overnight he became the kindest guy of his generation. I was told never to return to home ever again. So my only option was to listen to my kind hearted husband’s every order. I was fearful all the time. A kind of fear every black girl feels about losing her husband. Every day he used to beat me miserably, because of the false promises my father made to him. I always kept quiet as I thought the fault was all mine. One day he threw hot water onto my feet, I remained silent. I couldn’t sleep for countless nights in fear of losing everything that was never mine. One day when I sat to eat, without any warning signs he kicked me from the back. When I fell to the ground, I was awake; I took the stick nearest to me and started beating him, without giving him any chance to attack me. I was beating every single person of my life who humiliated me. Everyone who ripped my soul. No one came to stop me and I saw fear on their faces. I took my son and left that house forever. I never cried for a single time after that. Never prayed to God to make me beautiful, never begged anyone to love me. I work as a labourer. Whenever I see little black girls working in the site, I always smile to them and tell them how beautiful they are. They asked me with surprise ‘how can a black girl be beautiful?’. I tell them, ‘Only beautiful is the person who has a beautiful heart.’ – Monowara
When I first came with my motorcycle to this village, a lot of villagers gathered and surrounded me like they never saw something like this before. People used to show me to each other and said “see the bad women who is riding a motorcycle”. Now many girls from this village want to learn how to ride a motorcycle from me!
I rode a motorcycle before my marriage. Now I work with an international NGO. When I was younger I used to go to school using my bicycle. My husband liked me because I was different from the others. My husband can’t drive so he always sits behind me on the motorcycle! This is very unusual for my village people. But my husband always told me, “never listen to people. “
My husband and my two daughters are always proud of me. One daughter is named Jannat and is 11 years old. My younger daughter is 5 years old. I bought bicycles for both of them with 11 thousand taka which I saved from my salary. My elder daughter goes to school with her bicycle. I always told her that Men and women have the same rights. If a man can ride a bicycle and motorcycle, why you can’t?
I dream that my daughters will be doctor when they grow up. I also bought a big land with my own savings for my daughters so they can open their own clinic after finishing their studies.
My mother was seven years old when she got married. When I grew up, my mother started her studies with me from class one. We went to school together until class 8 .Then my Mother did not continue her education because of our big family. But she always told me, ” Lucky you have to be independent, you have to do a job and fulfill your all dream “
‘Our landlord used to call me illiterate. The landlord has a daughter same age of mine. She attended school, college, and then university. I went to work when she went for education. Recently she got married to a wealthy family and her parents gave a lot of dowry. My landlord’s daughter refused to do any job as it does not suit her in-laws status and her parents are bound to give her many gifts all the time.
On the contrary, my salary helps my parents to live in a good house, to buy good foods, the overtime money I earn goes to my younger sisters’ education. The work I am doing is my dignity, I am happy to be illiterate – Monowara (25)
During my birth, my mother died. My parents were from a remote village. So my father could not do anything for saving her life. I grew up with my grandparents and then with my uncle’s family. I was a very brave lady from my childhood. My environment had pushed me to be a brave woman. I did every kind of work that a man does. I took care of our 7 cows. Along with our maid I dried thousands of sacks of rice. I was strong and brave like a man. Our villagers used to say, “You will never get married. Who will marry a girl that is like a man? Who will be her family? No man will live with her!” I was never concerned about those words because at that time my only thoughts were to work for a living and to feed myself as well as and to make my family members happy. I understood at that age, that nothing but work can make people happy.
Proving everyone wrong; I got married when I was 15 years old. I got the most loving husband. I found a dream come true. I have never imagined a life that could be so colorful. My husband was a very loving man. I had never found that much love ever like that which I got from him. But that happiness was really for a short period of time. I got a divorce after 3 years of my marriage. They wanted a child from me, but I could not give them a child. God have not given me that power to conceive. Doctors said I am unable to become a mother. For 3 years I had done everything and eaten
everything people told me about to facilitate a pregnancy.Nothing happened. Finally, making everyone right again, my husband of 3 years left me because I can’t be a mother. When I found my marriage was over I thought my life was over too. It is impossible for me to describe the depth of the pain when you get the most beautiful thing in your life and then lose it again in front of your eyes.
I have never married again, but became a midwife instead. I had been interested in it since my childhood. No one could save my mother. So I wanted to save mothers’ lives. For that, I took training from the midwife of our village. I have been brave since my childhood. From my acts people started to believe in me. They started wanting me in their labor room. They started to feel confident when I am there in their labor room. I saved hundreds of women’s lives. But I am badly defeated again by my fate. I could not save my mother’s life. My adopted daughter whom I was calling ‘Maa’ for the last 25 years left me last month in her labor room. I could not save my mother’s life again- Roksana 60
Before I understood the world around me, I was feed with word like ugly, black, worthless. The more I grew up more I understood the world only see, it does not feel. There is very little value of inner beauty, everything is about skin and color. When I was a child, people do not adore me, they always told my parents to take care of me so I can become little fair. I was always forced to follow someone as role model, as my parents reminded me what an ugly girl could do in her life. When I was a teenager, in my school during award ceremony teachers let only beautiful girl to sit in the front row. Ugly girls like me were supposed to do all the works and sat in the last bench of the class. I grew up frightened and embarrassed by losing all my sense of pride. I lost my dignity in the game of color and beauty. But in this journey, I never stopped being a good soul. No matter how much people hurt me with their words or actions. But I continued to live in a fear that I born with nothing. After losing my husband I was about to die with my twin daughters. They were very young and fragile. I had nothing left. And then one of my relative told me, what would happen to my daughters who exactly look like me. That very moment, I felt different. I questioned myself how I can bring worth in my daughter’s life. That day, that vulnerable ugly woman died to give identity to her daughters. I cannot remember when last time I took rest. I traveled two days alone to arrive here. I did not know anyone, any place and had no idea how I could survive. How an ugly woman could survive and made her way to life. I worked ten years of my life to change my identity. Now I built a house in my village. My daughters are going to the best school. And I have saved a good amount of money for myself. Every time when I go to visit my daughters I tell them, only pretty are the people who have good heart and do no harm to other people. I will never let them to fall in the trap of ugliness of a world which only value skin.
– Afroza (38)
My daughter was 6 years old, my elder son was 3 and a half years old and my younger son was only 5 months old when I moved to Dhaka twenty years ago. I never spent a single penny for myself; I walked mile after mile going from one student’s house to another student’s house to give private tuition on Math. Sometimes I had to walk more than 8 kilometers in one day. Every day I started at 7am and came back home after work around 11pm. Most of the time I did not use any transportation; I did not eat the whole day in order to save money for my children’s education. After an entire day of work, I was exhausted physically as well as mentally and also emotionally drained. But I never gave up my dream!
My father died when I was 13 years old, and I was the elder daughter of my family so I had to look after my whole family. I worked in our field and at the same time I also continued my education. I always told my children about my struggles and how hard I had to work to earn to continue their education. They always gave me hope that they will do their best to fulfill my dream. My children were always keen on learning. They made no demands and lived a very simple life with me!
Four years ago I started this pharmacy with my own income; now I don’t teach anymore. I take care of my family with the income I get from this pharmacy. Now my daughter is a doctor and my elder son is a mechanical engineer. My younger son is studying at Dhaka University. My entire dream came true only because of my determination and hard work as well as the sacrifices I made.
If every woman started working, there would be no poverty. Women can change the entire society as well as their own lives. I always pray to God that I must die while I am working. _ Rakiba Akter 47
After two years I readmitted to my class. My parents were not able to send me to school last two years. I am very afraid to start again. I am going to meet new friends who will be two years younger than me. I have no idea if I will be able to make new friends or not. I am very scared but I really want to continue my education. Today, when I was telling my grandmother that I should not go now, I should go some time later. Then she told me, ‘If I were you, sixty years ago I would run to my school having the chance of going to school. Not everyone gets a second chance, always remember, it’s now or never.’ I am nervous from head to toe but I am on my way. I really hope my teacher will smile to me and my new classmates will accept me as their friend. But if they don’t, I will not give up. I do not want to become someone who lost before fighting the battle of dream.
Ten years ago, I cried vulnerably by sitting exactly here. I cried in fear, in helplessness, in shame. In my fifteen years of marriage life, I never thought my husband could ever leave me. There was nothing painful when I was abandoned by the person I trusted most. I spent that very evening by sitting in our river side. No one knew what was happening inside me, my whole life was crushing inside mychest and I was sitting in silence far from everything. Then I decided to die. It was easier to die than live. I took out our boat, went in the middle of the river, calmly tied my legs with a piece of my torn cloth and jumped. I was my father’s wild girl; he taught me how to swim in very tender age. He bravely told everyone if his girl needed she could cross the river by swimming. But I was drowning. I was seeing death very closely and then I saw the face of my father. At that night, when I was desperate to die, my death father was trying to hold me. I never thought I would try to save myself that moment and wanted dearly to breathe. I had no idea how I was managed to free myself and swim. I managed to save myself from the death which was about to kill me. The fisher men of my village found me before I lost my sense. I was a woman who never went outside of her village in thirty years of her life. In the same day, I took the launch and arrived in the city. I had no idea how to earn, where to sleep, what to eat. I was crying by sitting in this place, when my friend Sufiya came and sat beside me. She looked at me and asked me, ‘What is the price of your tears?’ I become angry and told her, ‘Nothing?’ She wept off my tears, put the bucket above my head and said, ‘Then never cry again.’ It’s been ten years we are friends. Since the day I never cry again. That helpless woman had died in the tide of river, I am now my father’s girl who is able to cross any river or ocean.
– Shormila (mother of Suruj 12) with her friend Sufiya in the right
I have no good memory about my childhood. I do not want to remember what had happened to me when I was a kid. When I open my wound it brings unbearable pain to my heart. I feel pity for me. I feel pity for the little girl who was alone, very alone. People killed my childhood, they torn me into so many pieces that I still could not fix. I was twelve years old. When I was getting dressed I thought, I must be going somewhere to play. My family married me off when I was thinking about school picnic. I was beaten every day for dowry without knowing what dowry actually mean. I asked my husband where I would find dowry, and he had beaten me hard. All they wanted was money to a child. And my family was not able to give them anything.
I gave birth to my daughter when I was thirteen. I hold her like a doll and was afraid if they take her from me to bring any dowry. That was my childhood and motherhood. One of my favourite teachers named my daughter ‘Joyita’. She told me, my daughter will bring ‘victory’ to me, that is the meaning of her name. That did not happen easily. I was kicked out from my house and I had no place to go. Thirteen years old mother and her daughter had no place in this brutal world for one night. Strangely, I had received help from people whom I never knew. Life is so strange that I realized at very tender age. The people I loved most was turned into strangers. My battle was not about surviving. My battle was living in a loveless world and holding my daughter with a heart full of love. I never knew what true love was, what it feels to be loved. But my daughter held me tightly and I told myself I will win for her, I will win to save my daughter’s childhood.
Soon I will finish my university, my daughter Jotiya is in school. This is my world. Every corner of this room is decorated by me and my daughter. This is our parlour and it’s name is ‘Joyita Beauty Parlour’. I work, laugh and dream. People asked me why I am not starting my life newly. I ask them what does mean by new. They elaborately said, new mean a new man, new relationship. I laugh at lot. I have survived ten years of a battle with my little baby. Do I really need to have a new man to give a new meaning to my life? No, I don’t need. If my wound ever heals, may be one day I will find someone, someone who will make me believe in love.
– Sayma (23)
The smile of my father was very peaceful. Even after facing struggle, poverty, illness he never forgot to laugh. Nothing was able to take away his beautiful smile. He was suffering from an illness. I was very young then. Other than praying hard for him I was not able to do anything. Whenever we stayed in hospital we hardly received any hope for him. My family had no idea of a better treatment. I lost my father because we were not able to understand what to do for his treatment. It’s been so many years I have lost my father. But I am trying to hold his smile even now. Whenever I see any little girl is feeding her father in a hospital bed, I stop for sometimes. I see my father there, smiling at me. Sometimes small girls stop me and ask, ‘Sister, do you think my father will be okay?’ With smile, I always say, ‘Of course, he will be. For you.’ Giving hope is as important as prescribing medicine. Sometimes I feel very tired; my toes hurt a lot and shoulder become stiff, sometimes people’s bad behaviours break me entirely, but then I see my father smiling at me from the patient bed. I stand up and continue to serve people. Whenever I am able to treat a father and he goes back to home with his daughter, I smile, as like my father does all the time from very far. Its easier to fight against every disease; we only have to add love and care with the medicine.
– Sabina Yesmin (25)