Women of Valor
Encounter the 10 most outstanding examples of women full of courage, strength, dignity, kind hearts, fierce minds and brave spirits. As you will explore and travel through the cities of all these women, you will know how hard their lives are, yet they smile in trouble, gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.
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
During my whole life I kept my mouth shut to be a good woman. I accepted my fate and all those abuses my entire life but I never could forgive myself. I was ashamed of myself but I couldn’t tell anyone; when at the age of 4 my mother’s own brother used to touch me in bad ways. My mother believed him and even gave me to him to take care of. I couldn’t fight back when my father’s cousin raped me while coming back from school at the age of 5. Crying in pain I told my elder sister. She said, “Do not tell anyone; people will call you a bad girl!” I couldn’t tell my father that the rickshaw puller he reserved for me for my safety to take me to school put his hands in the wrong places when he helped me to get down from the rickshaw. I Told my mother about it and my mother changed the rickshaw driver but she didn’t share it with my father and told me not to share it with anyone. She said, “People will call you bad!” I never could complain to anyone when my school teacher used to touch my back. I could never forget all the abuses that happened to me. I never used to go in front of my uncles when I became a young woman ever again. I was scared of every man in my life.
Every woman dreams about their wedding and their husband. I was also not different from them. But all my dreams were crushed badly as well as all my expectations when on my wedding night I got raped again by my own drunk husband. Even I couldn’t say anything when he brought his friend to my room one night for money. During my pregnancy I used to pray to God, “Please don’t give me a girl because I know she will have to go through all these things I have been tolerating my whole life. But I became the mother of a girl 10 years ago. I never let her hide from my eyes for a minute. I took her everywhere. But I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when that night my husband brought a man into my daughter’s room. I started yelling and screaming insanely. All my anger that I had been carrying my whole life came out as my greatest strength. I couldn’t control myself and took the dagger to stab my husband and the man. They both ran away. I complained to the police and for the last year my husband has been in jail. People call me a bad woman. They say that to me because I had my husband put in jail. I don’t feel shame, rather I feel good when they call me a bad woman. It took 32 years to gather the courage to become a bad woman and shout out for my respect and my dignity._Nazma Begum
My life has always been grim since childhood.Throughout my life I have drank more tears than water but I never gave up. I never complained to God for anything about my life! I was always grateful that at least I am alive! One of my hands and one of my legs became paralyzed because because of typhoid fever when I was only five years old. I lost my father and mother at a very young age. I had survived alone since childhood by breaking bricks with my one good hand.
When he proposed to me to marry him, for the first time in my life, my heart beat rapidly. I could not refuse him. In my 25 years of life, no one ever said a word of love to me. I never thought I could have a family. I almost accepted my lonely life. I asked him why he wanted to marry me? He said, “I love your courage!” We got married! He became everything to me! I gave him all I had. After three months of our marriage, one morning I found out that my husband , Younus, disappeared with my trunk and all of the money that I had been saving every day for the last 15 years for my future. I never thought life could be so very cruel! I lost everything along with all my beliefs in people.
I kept asking myself. Why would a man live with a woman who cannot do anything with her one hand? Who cannot even cook, cannot wash cloths, cannot do anything for him? I stopped working! I lost all my courage and hope for life!
But I never complain to God for anything! I keep praying to God to give me some courage to continue my life! I started working again and started saving again for my old age. After three years, one evening when I was coming back from my work, I saw a 6 or 7-day-old girl crying in front of a dustbin. I ran there and I couldn’t stop myself from holding her on my lap with my only hand. She stopped crying on my lap and started looking at me like she knows me. There was no one around but I was waiting there in case anyone came for her. But in my heart, I was only praying to God, “Please God, don’t send anyone to take her from me. Because at that moment I had already started dreaming of my life with her.
While returning back home, I was kissing her cheeks and I was whispering in her ear,“Nothing will happen to you. I am not leaving you, my child.” I had already become her mother from my soul.
For the last 15 years she became my courage. She became the mother of this paralysed woman who had been abandoned by everyone in her life: the woman who drank more tears than water during her life.
I was never alone anymore for the last 15 years. My daughter, Tanjila, became my hope. When she calls me, maa, I forget all the pain I have! When I see her face, I forget all my tiredness! She is in class eight. I save all my money for her education. She always tells me, “Maa, after finishing my studies I will never let you work again!”_Halima
Love is a lie. He lied to me; a lie I believed.Do you know what is the rarest and hardest thing in this world? Giving someone a second chance! I couldn’t give it to Someone loved more than my own life! But I can’t say to anyone that I have no one. I always lie that I have everyone. I feel shy telling people I am alone. People think I am a bad woman when I say that. They think I am bad that’s why everyone left me. But the reason is reversed. I left everything behind and choose this lonely life. My neighbors think I am an insane woman who works nonstop like a machine and doesn’t talk to anybody.Furthermore, they always see me crying. I was not like this before. That is for him That I have been crying for the last 15 years. The man who used to say, “You look beautiful when you smile!”
He was my neighbor brother. From childhood we grew up together. We used to play in our lush fields and used to fly kites together. He used to take me to the village fair. Swimming in the pond was an everyday activity for us. He was my best friend for everything. I used to steal puffed rice and mangoes from my mother’s cupboard to feed him.
Everything was going well till I became a young woman. No one let us be together anymore. One day I escaped from my house to see him. My father and brother caught me at his house and beat me so severely that I felt all my bones were broken. I vomited blood. My father said, “Love is not for the poor” I didn’t listen.
The next day again I went to him and we ran away from our village. We came to Dhaka where there was nothing except us and our love in our small hut in a slum. We Told no one where we were. He started a job in a textile mill. I was working the whole day as a maid. We used to wait all day for the night to see each other.
Everything was going beautifully for the next 3 years. Then one day a coworker of my husband told me my husband got married with a girl from the textile mill where he worked. They rented a room in a nearby slum. I couldn’t believe my ears. In the evening I went to that slum with the coworker to see with my own eyes. The whole the way I was praying that what I knew was a lie; I didn’t want to see him there. But I saw him entering that room with a bag in his hand. I couldn’t stand up anymore. I couldn’t find any strength in my legs. Everything I was seeing was blurry. My heart was crushed inside my chest. I don’t know how I returned home that evening.
Coming home I cried like a crazy woman the whole evening. But I cooked for him for the last time. When he come home late that night I gave him warm rice and his favourite dish fish with potatoes. I waited till he finished and asked him while looking straight into his eyes, “Do you love me?”
His eyes were saying everything. He tried to lie again. I told him to leave this home. He started crying. He wanted to hold me. I couldn’t look at his face for the last time. I left the room in the one saree I was wearing and started running.
I have been here for the last 15 years staying alive and trying to forget the memories in order to survive and surviving in order to forget him. I couldn’t show my face to my family again. Brother. I didn’t make a mistake by loving someone, but I made the mistake of loving the wrong one_ Nuri Begum
We five sisters are the heart of our father. I am the third child of my father and he thought I was very useless. But I know he loves me the most because I am very fond of him. After marrying off my two elder sisters, my father only had me to rely upon for keeping his money safe, preparing betel leaf for him, giving him the towel when he goes to the shower and every other household chore. My other two sisters were very young. My father used to search for me by calling out, “Where is my tail?” This is because he thought he is the ‘body’ and I was the unbreakable useless part of him, ‘the tail’.
But I had to leave my ‘body’ one day. That day, when I went to Dhaka in search of work and money, leaving ‘my body’, I didn’t cry at all. How could I cry? My responsibility was more important to me than crying.
I remembered that oftentimes in our family home before going to sleep in our room, I used to hear my father telling my mother with his mellow voice, “I wish we had a son then he could earn money for us. I am getting older and sicker day after day. Who will take care of you all?” One night he started crying loudly and said, “My daughters have become my pain and my main burden now. How will I arrange marriages for all of them? I am a poor farmer.” That night I cried the whole night; the whole night I could not sleep. I promised myself that I will take all the responsibilities of my family. I promised I will never get married before I arrange marriages for my sisters and give a better life to my parents.
I started working at Dhaka in a factory and sent money to my father every month for my family and tried to save some money. During those years my father tried to marry me off. He used to make up various issues to call me home. Every time before going home I used to shave my head so that the groom would not like me.
I left Dhaka after 3 years and bought three milking cows with baby calves and started farming at our house. In our village no girls herded cows or goats. Everyone started talking nonsense about me but I didn’t listen to anyone. Why should I stop? I promised myself that I will prove to my father that if you give opportunities and inspiration to a daughter, she can do anything that a son can do.
In the next four years from the six cows we then had 14 cows and 4 calves. I sell milk every day and cows every year during Eid season. My two younger sisters started working with me. On my farm now 3 other girls are also working from our village.
I built a new house for my parents. I took my mother to Dhaka for her eye operation.
My father is very proud of me nowadays. He always keeps telling everybody of our village “daughters are blessings. I am fortunate I have daughters. They are mothers in your old age. If you believe in your daughters, they can do anything. You don’t always need sons for being proud and privileged but you do need a daughter like my Rotna .”- Rotna
Every day is hard for women who work for feeding their families but last Monday was the hardest day of my life. Nothing was going well from the early morning that day. While I was going to my textile factory it was raining continuously. For a woman it is very difficult to get into a bus on such days. Somehow I managed like everyday but I was almost completely wet. Though I was wearing a pelisse,everyone was looking at me. I was trying to protect myself with my extra sheet that I always keep in my bag for protecting myself in such difficult situations so that I can hide myself from a lot of cursed eyes. After two hours of protecting myself, I reached my work place. Then that afternoon suddenly my husband called and informed me that my daughter is burned badly and he is taking her to the hospital. It was not possible to get leave instantly but I requested to my manager and he granted my leave. But when I went outside it was still raining badly.
I tried for more than an hour but could not manage a bus. Then I thought to take a CNG (taxi) and took one. Taking a CNG is very expensive for me, someone who works as a day labourer in a textile factory, who only earns 7000 taka per month. But there was no other option for a mother like me when her child is in an emergency room in a hospital for the burned.
The CNG driver made my day even worse; a day of hell. He was looking through the mirror every single second. He was trying to see me through my wet dress even though I was wearing a veil. The look was so very vulgar. It felt like someone was raping me with his eyes. His face was full of marks of cuts with blades or something. He looked dangerous and I was very worried because I don’t know the road on which he was taking me. All the way I was just waiting for when I could get out from this hell. He was looking at every woman who was walking down the street! I couldn’t do anything and was waiting helplessly to reach my destination. I promised myself that I would never again take a vehicle alone even if I were dying of an emergency.
It was one of the most disgusting experiences of my life but as a woman in Bangladesh I have to face this kind of situation almost everyday, several times everywhere. All the men look at us like we are a piece of meat only and nothing else even in this month of Ramadan! These men maybe forget they also have mothers, sisters and daughters at their homes too! They forget when their women go out they also face this same problem. Everyday returning from work I cry to my husband that I have to go to work the next day and be subjected to those eyes again. _ Salma
It’s very hard to believe in life again after getting betrayed from your own blood and the person you loved the most. Ever since I have understood life, every inch of my soul has suffered in grief every single day. After the death of my mother, my father took me here and left me. He never thought about how I could survive alone at the age of six! I don’t know what the reason was why my father had to dump me here in this boiler. After that no one came here to see me again. I don’t know if anyone from my family even knows where I am, or if I am alive or dead. I was living with an 80-year-old lady who was also suffering from loneliness in the last days of her life. I used to call her ‘mother’. She died when I was only nine. She always used to say, “You are an angel and God sent you to me so that I don’t have to die without water in my mouth. God knows about our suffering, he even knows the suffering of those little ants!’’
After her death, when I was badly wanting to save my life from the storm of loneliness, God became the umbrella over my head. I got married with a beautiful man that year. He became my parents, my friend and my family. My life became dreamlike for the next six years. Then one day he said he was going to his village to see his parents and would return very soon; but he didn’t. I don’t know where he is now! I never knew where his village was. I don’t know if he is alive and having a family life or if he is no more! I am waiting for him and cannot give his place to anyone again; I didn’t get married again after that. Several times I thought he betrayed me; several times I wanted to kill myself. At the age of 15 I had already lost all hope of living my life contentedly anymore. But I was a very cowardly woman and I could not kill myself. I could not do anything.
After 10 years of working here I went to search for my village and my family but I could not find anything. How could I? I don’t know where my village is! I only know I am from Barisal and my father brought me here on a launch.
After the hopeless search of my village and family, I returned on the launch back to this place. I had been sleeping on the deck of the launch and in the morning, I suddenly woke up from a soft touch on my body. Opening my eyes I saw that everyone had debarked from the launch and a beautiful baby was searching my body for milk. I took her on my lap and started searching for her family. Besides me and some launch crew, everyone had left the launch already. I searched for her family desperately and waited the whole long day by the launch in case anyone came to take her; but no one showed up. I never wanted for this kind of abandonment to be repeated that I had experienced as a child. I know the pain of life without a family. When the two-year-old baby was crying, I was also crying with her hysterically that whole day.
After that day my life changed again and that crying baby became the center of my life. I became a mother. I worked every day taking her on my lap or on my back. I have spent my last 10 years with her every second. I did not let her go anywhere I couldn’t see her! In my empty life she was the only light. I got her after losing everything and then finding her and having a new life. I know the value of being loved. Everyone leaves me; now I am very afraid of losing her again. But I also know now that she will give water to my mouth during my death._ Julekha
I don’t want to complain. No complaints. Life can’t always be a bed of roses. Life is not like that always. My childhood was a dream. I was an obedient child and a good wife. After I got married my husband had given me lots of comforts. I never had to work for anything. I enjoyed a life of affluence.
My husband was a very brave man. He was the Sardar from this village. That night when everyone was praying in the mosque to save the dam from breaking; he went with his pupils to save the dam with his spade. That night I fell to his feet crying and hugging his legs. I begged, “Please don’t go”. He made me understand. Everyone went to mosque to pray to save the dam but they forgot what god had said! God said, “You try, I will give it.” I am going to try!” I let him go. But he couldn’t return. The flood waters swept everything away with my fate. I lost my husband and that night my life changed drastically!
After that night I worked very hard every day my whole my life for my family. I helped my parents and my parents-in-laws in every possible way. I did everything I could for bringing up my kids. My children have married and have gone away. I have no one now, now A days I feel very lonely.
They send me money every month. I have no problems of food nor clothing but I need somebody to talk to. My jaw gets stuck sometimes nowadays! I have no one to talk to nor anyone to take care of me. There is an old woman beside my house and she comes over sometimes to cook for the two of us in exchange for food for her. My elder son promised me four years ago that he would take me with him to his home but during the last Eid when they came here they again left me alone. I said nothing just like the last 3 years. You cannot believe the difference that it makes when I just hear somebody’s voice in my yard.
Loneliness is very frightening. It is very frightening for me sometimes because I don’t know if I am going to fall and be left alone, or if something is going to happen to me andI will have no one. Suddenly I feel very worried even about walking in this yard alone. In people’s lives it’s very important to have somebody to talk to and to care for you in your later years.
I sometimes wonder how my children will breathe without the person who gave them their first breath? When they come home again for the next Eid, will they notice when they arrive that there may be no one to greet them at the door?
These dogs are the only companions of mine. I feel happy for them. At least they have each other._Joreda Begum
I wish I could die! What will I do with this life without education and hope? How I will fulfill my angel’s dream! How I will give my angel a comfortable life without education? My mother is my angel! My mother worked her whole life like a slave from our childhood to continue our schooling. My father works in a local factory, with his tiny income it is always difficult to feed our four-member family.
My mother did all kinds of work. She worked as a day laborer on other people’s agriculture land, she worked as maid but she never let us stops our learning.
My whole life I dreamed and I prayed to God that when I will complete my education, I will do a job and I will take care of my parents. I will fulfill all my mother’s wishes. I never saw her wearing a pleasant dress or eating something good. I never saw her taking a pause from nonstop work for us! Her whole life she was only anxious for our future!
For the last two months, we have been begging to everyone for my admission fees for my H.S.C. But nobody came forward to help me.All my friends received admission in the college after completing the SSC . But I am the only unfortunate one who could not manage the admission fees! For the last two months the whole the time my mother keeps telling me, “Maa don’t cry! If we don’t have money how we can continue the rest of your education?”
How can I make her understand! Every moment I am not crying only for my education! I am crying for my dream, my wish that I have cherished since from my childhood! That I will give a comfortable happy life to my mother after completing my education!_ Anika akter
My husband left me on a stormy night when my five-year-old autistic daughter was fighting for her life.Several times she was in pain asking, “Ma, can you do something? Ma, take away my pains.” I couldn’t do anything. I was crying loudly sitting beside her and asking my husband to please do something. My husband said he was going to bring medicine. My younger daughter started crying to go with him. He didn’t take her. He said he was coming back soon. We were waiting for him the whole night but he never returned again. I know why he left us. He couldn’t take this poverty and our sick daughters anymore. He always wanted a boy. He got lost because he wanted to. After that everybody started looking at me like the fault was mine. People were bad-mouthing me. This and the loneliness and guilt were all drowning me. I couldn’t take anything anymore either. I decided to commit suicide. That afternoon when everyone was working outside in the field I put a noose around my neck, hung it on the fan and swallowed a full packet of my daughter’s sleeping pills. I could not think of anything but to kill myself. I don’t remember how long it took me to pass out, but I do remember those last moments of my consciousness. My life was flashing before my eyes, and I started imagining he returned home bringing medicine for our sick daughter at my wake.
Suddenly the thought hit me; my autistic daughter! What will my daughters do? How will they survive without me in this cruel world? It was at that moment I realized that I wasn’t ready to leave this world like this; I couldn’t leave them like their father left us. I thought this would forever be the story of a defeated mother and a helpless woman’s life, nothing more. At that time, I started struggling to get the noose off, but by then I had lost all control. I woke up in a central hospital the next day. My neighbor said he found me senseless on my floor and I am lucky that the rope tore by itself. I really felt lucky to be alive for the first time in my life holding my daughters on my chest tightly. I do believe that God has given me a second chance do something good.
After that day I never thought about needing a man, a husband in order to survive and to take care of us. My failure became my greatest weapon after that incident. My failure allowed me to change my life and focus on the good. Now I work the whole day in the field and then at night I cook in a hotel. I take care of 3 other old women who are not blood-related but connected by fate. They were also abandoned by their families and live with me and my daughters now. My one daughter is now 8 and the other is 5 years old and goes to school. Every night 8-10 child workers who work with me in the field and who call me ‘Ma’ come to eat dinner with us with what I brought (leftover) from the restaurant where I cook.
Every person has a story behind their changing but not everyone’s story is beautiful. Mine is ugly but I believe everything happens for something good. He wanted to get lost. I let him. I have no complaints so I Don’t search for his address anymore._Asma Begum
Prostitutes don’t expect love in return from anyone. I also don’t expect it. From the very beginning of this life we learn how to live life without being loved back. But for the last 14 days I have been feeling very compassionate for this sick monkey…. I feel that he is far better than any social human being I ever met. This innocent creature even understands love and compassion and can love you back.
I bought this monkey from a street magician two weeks ago because he was looking so sick and the magician was forcefully making him dance and play. It was hurting me so badly that I started quarrelling with that man and wanted to buy his monkey. He was not agreeing to sell his money-making monkey. But I was also not a girl to let the poor monkey suffer. So the man asked for a big amount of money and he thought it would make me leave him because I am a poor prostitute. I told him to sit for a minute and without thinking for a second, I took all my money from my trunk which I had accumulated in the last 3 years making my blood into sweat so that I could get rid of this hell.
I finally could save my baby monkey. Everyone laughed at me and called me crazy but no one will ever understand the satisfaction that I feel. I am feeding him healthily and taking care of him for the last 14 days to make him well. I decided I will leave him in a jungle far from this concrete jungle. I know a prostitute can never be free and live her life in the society of the good people but I believe this monkey can live happily in his jungle_ Beauty