The Alchemy of Mother

A mother’s womb is the place where life and love begin. In her heart we never grow up. No one smells like her and she remains the same even after hundred years. And when she dies she leaves a part of her soul for us; wherever we go her existence follows us. A mother’s heart can travel any time and any distance. There is an invisible chord between us which our mothers continue to nourish forever. This blog post is a Tribute to all mothers. This is for honoring the most irreplaceable person of our life. No one knows the alchemy of mother, she remains the one, no one can take her place.

Sharing Ten heart wrenching real life stories of Mothers, featured first on this Facebook page.  GMB Akash

mother 01

Like everyone you are also thinking that I am a beggar. But I never begged for a single day of my life. But strangely every day after I wake up I found money beside my head. I stopped wondering at generosity of strangers. There are many street children who love to stay nearby me. Because they had seen me giving away my money to other beggars. I never gave money to children, but always bought ice cream for them. My grandson loved ice cream a lot. My secret savings was for his ice cream. The day I was coming to the city with my son for my eye treatment, my grandson hugged me and was not letting me to come. He was telling me I won’t be able to come back, I was laughing on him as he always spoke about strange things. Then I told him to always remember, at the end, everything will be okay. I was sitting on the bench of the train station for almost two days. I waited for my son to arrive with a rickshaw, he told me not to move no matter what happened. The street boy who was selling water repeatedly told me, he saw my son leaving by the next train, he had heard him telling someone that he already got rid of a sick old woman. I did not trust him. I could not trust a street kid more than my son. I was not able to see clearly but as much as I could I was looking forward for his arrival, my ears were alert to hear his voice. I terribly wanted to go back to his house and give my grandson a hug. The street kid stayed with me for all the time, told me his father also left him in that station, assured me, he knew how I was feeling. No, no one can fell what I was feeling. I lost terribly in life many, many times. From the day I arrived to this strange city I never asked anyone to help. But I am asking you. Can you replace my heart? It’s been bleeding all the time without any sign of blood. I am having a terrible pain inside my chest, a feeling of pain that someone has crushed me with this world’s weight. I need peace, rest and love. But in this world there are people like me who may never get any of this. And that’s okay. Because at the end, everything ends.

– Jahanara Begum

mother 02

My life had always been different. There were some cold nights when my step mother punished me by keeping me outside our home. She wanted me to leave my father. But I couldn’t. I stood all nights outside their door and cried. Their door, liked their hearts, always remained closed. I was deprived of my father’s love and later on, of his property. After marrying me off, they directly asked me to never visit them again. To confirm that decision, my father gave all his property to my step brothers before my father died. I accepted and never questioned my father. You can’t fight to get love, it has to come on it’s own.

I lost my mother during my birth. I learned how to survive cruelty, as the world’s most unfortunate is the one who loses his mother during birth. I was also unfortunate to never know how it felt to be loved. When my husband shut his door on my face as well, I not surprised. I had been losing the battle since my life’s day one. And that day when my husband threw me away, I did not know what was about to come. I had no idea that a life was growing inside me. When I knew about my child, it was too late and I did not want to go to that house where I was beaten by everyone for the crimes I never did. Surprisingly, when I started living on street, I was happier. I slept hungry in my father’s house and as well as my husband’s many nights, but I never went to sleep hungry when I lived on my own in the streets. There was always someone who shared their food with me. There were beggars who gave me food, and laborer who gave me clothes. I was not alone among the strangers but I was so lonely among my very own family.

When my son was about to be born, I started having the fear of death. But we both survived. I passed hours looking at his face and often pinched myself it make sure it wasn’t just a dream. I have never felt such joy in my thirsty years of life. Though there was no one beside my child, I could never say his father’s name, no one cared for him without me, but together, we found happiness in our fragility. I continued to fight for our happiness.

A few days ago, when I had to bring him to this hospital, the doctor told me they will try their best to save my son, but I should prepare for the worst and stay strong.That moment I refused to be strong. I refused to be strong anymore. I refused to let go of my life. I spent the whole night on my knees. praying to God with every word I know, with all the belief I had. For how much longer would God keep putting so much of weight on my chest? When would he understand how hard it was for me? I refused to take any more pain. I do not know how I passed that night . After sun rise, a nurse arrived and asked me to visit my child. I rushed to him. And discovered that God had answered my prayer; he had given back me my life. I won’t let him go anywhere.

– Mayeeda

mother 03

No one ever loved me. When my mother left me, in shock I could not able to talk for a year. It was not her crime. But I wanted to sleep in her lap for at least one night, but I could not. My father never bought a hair lace for me. I could not remember if anyone loved me for a while. No one kept their hand in my head to give me courage. One day I lost myself. My aunt willingly left me in a ferry station, knowing I would never make it home. I was so afraid and cold. Just felt like the day when my mother left me alone. A girl, ten years old in an unknown, strange world, where there is no love, empathy. Since then years had passed, I did everything to survive. People used me in so many purposes. I wanted to die but surprisingly found out dying is harder than living, I could not throw myself in river water, I kept loving and hating me all at once. When I first felt my daughter’s movement, I was hungry, there was nothing to eat. There is no bigger pain than hunger; my tiny girl could not sleep inside my womb because we were hungry, hungry for food and love. The day when she was born there was no one beside me, when she grabbed my fingers; I felt for the first time – someone arrived to love me, whom I will never let go.

– Reshma

mother 04

‘One day madam bought a girl of nine years old. Her stepmother sold her to a brothel and then spread the news that she had been lost. The stepmother was satisfied to get rid of a stepdaughter for a life time and 3000 taka was just a bonus of selling a human being. My madam gave the little girl to me to prepare for clients. She was a doll, her pink chubby cheeks and big brown eyes melted my heart. When she cried and cuddled me at night I felt like that baby was made of milk. I went through forced abortions two times; for me Putul was my lost fetus. I bought her a doll to play with. After seven days she was able to speak, her first question was, ‘will that madam cut my hands and send me for begging’? I closed my eyes and whispered, ‘they will do much worse than anyone’s imagination’. Madam was impatient and gave me one week to teach her all the tricks of the business. And I planned something else by putting my life at risk. The day before they fixed a client for Putul, I communicated with one of my old admirers to talk to an organization who was working with orphans. I knew they would kill me if they found me while or after transporting the girl to the orphanage. But that time I did not care about my life. I was able to get her free from this hell. She left her toy doll for me as her memory. I know there must be thousands of such hells waiting for the girl but at least I was able to save her from the biggest one. Please pray for my baby; may she get all the happiness and love in her life; may her chubby cheeks always gets rosy from laughter.’

– Purnima, a sex worker

mother 05

I used to think with every passing year I might forget every scar I have. But that did not happen. Even by passing time I tend to remember all tiny memories deeply. I had a past that shattered my present and future. My parents married me off when I was nine years old. Before I knew what is the rule of a husband I was married. My first daughter was born when I was ten. By the time, my husband and in-laws had sent back me and my daughter to my home as my parents were unable to pay them dowry. To me, my daughter was nothing just a lively doll to play. And again before I could play with my doll enough they snatched her and married me off with my current husband. My mother sent off my daughter to a far flung location that still now I have no idea who have adopted her and where she might be. My bitter life started and my current husband continued to question me about my past for the rest of my life. I gave birth to three sons and by the time they know about my past all were adult and educated. They rejected me and continued to insult me with their father. At the age of eighty five I urge to be with my lost daughter. She is just ten years younger than me but when I recall her I can only remember some tiny fingers holding me tight, I get a smell something like cinnamon, I see those big eyes wondering at me. I keep living in my past; I am still a ten years old mother.

– Tahora Khattun (85)

mother 06

I never called my mother ‘maa’. Calling her maa was prohibited. My mother gave birth to me secretly. I heard that my father never returned to take her back. No one knew where he went. On the day of my mother’s wedding she held me in her chest she cried a lot. I was five years old and never allowed to call my mother ‘Maa’. Her sandalwood smell enchanted me for long. I told her, ‘Aunty your smell is amazing.’ Like everyone, my new father knew I was the daughter of her late sister. He pointed at me and told my grandmother, I should never visit their village. My grandma laughed and snatched me from my mother saying I would never visit them. When my mother was leaving I was locked inside our kitchen but my heart was running behind her. I was crying and saying, ‘Aunty, come back.’ Calling Maa was forbidden.

My grandfather planted a coconut tree when my grandma conceived my mother. That tree was same age as my mother. She taught me to call that tree ‘Maa’. For twenty years I called that tree ‘Maa’. I never went to see her and she never arrived to see me. Sometimes I secretly embraced the tree and whispered how much I missed my mother. It was very difficult to sleep at night; I wanted to have her smell. Without that sandalwood smell it was impossible to fall asleep. Most night I cried and cried bu did not utter the word ‘Maa’.

My mother sent all my expenses but I was raised alone. On my wedding day, with everything my mother also sent me her wedding saree, the saree that my father gave her on their wedding. She was not allowed to attend my wedding. But I did not miss her, I was wearing her wedding saree which had her sandalwood smell. I had no idea if she missed me or not. No idea if she ever wanted to tell me anything. After my mother’s death they wanted to take me to see her for last time. I did not attend her funeral. Even now to me my mother is an eighteen years old beautiful girl, whose long hair and big eyes are enough to fall in love, who smells like sandalwood. Whenever I close my eyes, I see those big eyes, filled with an ocean of tears. In my dreams I tell her not to worry, I tell her how happy I am without her. Only sometimes I wanted to scream and call her ‘Maa’, ‘Maa come back’.

– Suraiya

mother 07

I did not want to kill him. I wanted him to be in my life. I knew that if anyone could find it out, they would kill him. But I was able to hide him for many months. Then sometimes in morning when I went to sleep I asked myself why to punish someone by bringing into my life which has no hope, no tomorrow. But he was the only one with whom I talk like a child without being afraid, without being someone else. He also responded in my stomach like a butterfly by assuring that he will never leave me.

The day my madam found out I was pregnant; she wanted to kill my child. She was trying to kick me and I held her legs. I screamed, begged her to give me a chance to live. I did not leave her feet for how long I cannot say; then she stopped pushing me and asked me why I wanted to bring lifetime suffering. She left without hurting me anymore.

Then the time arrived. During delivery I had eclampsia and severe blood loss. Through the entire time I did not stop talking to my child, I whispered to him that we had to make the journey. Till then we survived many miracles. He was then three months old, his only favorite thing was bird. But we were caged; I was not able to show him any bird. We had no room and I had to go back to attend clients. With every passing day, I was afraid that one day my boy will hate me most. But whenever I looked at him he always smiled by assuring that all I had is him.

He was three months twenty days old when I handover him to a childless couple. They were crying after holding my baby. I looked from distant; felt he was in the right hands. My madam requested me to keep Murad, told me that I won’t survive without him. But my mother heart felt Murad will be happy with them than me. When they were leaving, the woman came to me, put a packet of money in my bag and said they will keep his name Murad, they will not change it. I said nothing. Then the man came closer to show me Murad for the last time. Told me that when he will grow older they will bring him back to me and if he wants to be with me, they won’t stop him. I looked at my child, he smiled to me like always. I said, ‘Never tell him, his mother was a prostitute. Never let him to search me. He should never know he was born in a cage. I want him to be a bird, to fly in the sky, if you can, helps him to do that.’ I returned their packet and was able to come back to the brothel without looking back; I do not want my child to smile at a prostitute.

 – Momota

mother 09

I turned eighteen last month. I am a single mother, living alone with my only daughter. The day my husband left us I had to spend that night in train station. Because we had no place to go. My father asked me not to bother him and my step mother by any means. I did not want to disturb anyone. My struggle was not only about money or food; it was mainly saving my respect. When I was sitting in train station, wondering where I would go next morning, many men came near to me and whispered to my ears. I went freeze by holding my daughter close to my chest.

It was always a battle to earn respect for myself as a single mother. Because I felt that being a single mother is a crime. Every woman I know thinks I am after their men. Every man I know somehow tried to exploit me. My neighbor woman asked me to shut my door after evening, as her husband spends his free time at our open yard. I shut my door tightly even in day light. I do not let light to come at my house or any man.

In the beginning when I collected my wages, the contractor always tried to touch my fingers. May be he thought like all other men that I am too available to have. That day, I slapped the man on his face, pulled his collar, pushed him on the ground and kicked on his chest. Everyone was afraid and I was screaming like a wounded animal. I did not know that kind of woman existed on me, but I am glad to find that woman that day.

My crime is I never played victim, even when my husband fled with another woman. I broke, I crushed, I cried but I rose again and smiled. My daughter has no birth certificate as it required a father’s name. I assured my daughter we will find a country in this earth where mother’s name will be sufficient for any birth record.

– Yesmin (18) with her daughter Meem

mother 08

Inside a cotton bag I used to keep everything I had. In that bag there were my mother’s wedding saree, my children’s first clothes and my husband’s spectacle. I kept everything very dearly. In my life I have had only a few moments of happiness and I never wanted to lose those. At the age of thirty I lost my husband. I was a widow with seven children. I was not able to spend one day quietly after my husband’s death. The next day after his death I had to plough the field. At that night I went for fishing alone. After catching some fishes I cried by sitting at river side by calling my husband’s name. My house was broken which had no door. I remained alert, stayed awake all night by putting my children at sleep. I went to jungle to collect foods, I climbed in the tree, and I moved from places to places to feed my children. I spent countless days by starving, satisfyingly watching my children to eat. Whenever I went to jungle my youngest son would always follow me. He held my hand and assured me that one day when they will grow old he will give me everything I want. They grew old and I along my cotton bag kept moving in seven places for twelve months. I become a shadow for the children who were my life. I heard my elder son asking his wife, when she thinks I may die, I heard her replying ‘Not soon’. Last year when I went to live with my youngest son, I asked him to buy me a pair of glass. I showed him my empty medicine box and gave him my prescription. Suddenly he started shouting with me. He brought me out from his house, placed my cotton bag in my hand and dragged me outside far from his place. He placed me in the road; asked me to beg, told me that women of my age can manage their life by begging. He left very quickly while people were gazing at me. I felt shame, I tried not to cry, tried to hold something to get up on my own. Someone picked me up, asked me where I wanted to go. I did not reply. That moment I badly wanted to become thirty again, wanted to go to the field, to run into the jungle, to live my life. When I was slowly leaving the village a part of me was crying for my youngest son, a part of me was telling that he would arrive any moment, will hold my hand as he used to hold in his childhood. I shamelessly waited at the river side. And then I threw away my cotton bag in that river where once I used to catch fishes for my children. After that I never cried, never felt hungry for food or love.

– (Maa) Nureeja

mother 11

‘I am v-e-r-y afraid of airplane. I have claustrophobia. My son and daughter-in-law were not at all ready to leave me but I pushed them to go. My grandchildren were crying for me. But I decided to live in this old home and said if they could call me every day then I will be okay. That’s why everyday my son call me. Telling you the truth boarders envy me when I tell them how my grandchildren do skating and where they go for vacations. Last year all of them came to visit me and forced me to go with them. You know, they all are waiting for me and I will fly as soon as I will be no more afraid of flying’

After three years when I went to visit her, she went far away, in a place where there is no fear or waiting exit. I came to know that she was waiting for her son’s call for past five years. Three days authority waited for a reply from relative to handover them the dead body. The address and phone number were nonexistent. No one ever come to see her except me.



‘Heroes of Life’ – Part I

‘Heroes of Life’ – are those incredible humans who always find their way to light and love. They had known defeats, sufferings, struggles yet they possess a beautiful story in their hearts, which is worthy to share with the world.

Kawser Hossain, Shamsuddin Miah and Rani’s stories touched everyone’s heart. They were featured first in GMB Akash facebook page and become an inspiration for thousands of people all over the world. This video is about how we have helped three of them so they can give a good fight with their lives and remains as unbroken as they were. Thanks everyone for giving them love, respect and support.

You tube Video: ‘Heroes of Life’ Video interview


Yesterday, I was able to buy a new dress for my daughter after two years. While I handed sixty pieces of five taka note to the seller, he yelled at me by asking if I am a beggar. My daughter held my hand and cried to leave the shop by saying that she did not want to buy any dress. I wept off her tears with one hand. Yes, I am a beggar. Ten years ago I had never thought in my nightmares that I have to live by begging from people. The night coach fell from the bridge and unbelievably I was alive. I was alive by becoming a disable. My youngest son often ask me where had I left my other hand. And my daughter Sumaiya feed me every day by saying she knows how difficult it is to do all work with one hand.

After two years my daughter is wearing a new dress, that’s why today I brought her with me to play for some time. May be I will not be able to earn anything today, but I wanted to roam around with my little girl. I secretly borrowed this mobile phone from my neighbor without informing my wife. My daughter has no picture and I want to make this day memorable for her. When one day I will have a phone I will take a lot of pictures of my children. I want to keep good memories. It’s very difficult to send my children to school, but I am educating them all. Sometimes they cannot attend exam because giving exam fees is not always possible by me. On those days they feel very sad then I tell them, sometimes we can miss exams because the biggest exam is life which we are giving every day.

Now I will go for begging. I will place my daughter in a signal where she will wait for me. I will look at her from distant while begging. I feel shame while she looks at me when I lend my one hand to others. But she never leaves me alone. Because there are big cars, she thinks accident can happen again, these cars could run on me and I would die. Whenever I managed to get some money I return to home by holding my daughter’s hand. We do bazaar on our way and my daughter always carry that bag. During rain we love to get wet and talk about our dreams. In someday I do not get any money, on those days we return to home silently. On those days I feel like to die but at night when my children fall in sleep by holding me I feel being alive is not a bad thing. Only bad is when my daughter waits for me in the signal by keeping her head down. When I cannot look at her eye while begging. But today is different. Because today my daughter is very happy. Today this father is not a beggar. Today this father is a king and here is his princess.

– MD. Kawsar Hossain


This father and daughter received love from all around the world. It takes almost one month for me to find out him. After several meetings with the family, Kawser wanted to have a source of income. He wanted to do vegetable business in rickshaw van. He also wanted to educate his daughter and he never want to beg in his life.


I promised Kawser to gift a van rickshaw and settle his vegetable business. He has received vegetable business and a rickshaw van. His children received scholarship for one year. I long a few generous friends contributed for this cause. ‘This Heroes of life’ – are extraordinary human beings. Sumaiya and his father Kawser is already making differences in their life.









‘We can help someone with the minimum we have. Someone’s nothing can be someone’s everything’   

Remember the elderly couple?’ For everyone they are ‘The Baghban couple’!

slum (2)

Last year we fled together. We never thought we could do that. I knew that our children may stop communicating with us. But I and my wife are living forty seven years together. Every day after sunrise she wakes up me first and together we do our prayers. Forty seven years we never had spent a day without each other. Seeing my wife’s face was the first thing happen to me every day. We struggled together with our six children. In the past, often times I was able to manage one time food for my family, I and my wife starved whole day after feeding our children. She never complained, never told me that I was failed as a husband. After so much suffering we never left each other’s side, never fought one single day, and never lost faith on each other. When my elder son took me and the youngest daughter took their mother, we did not realize that they decided to take us separately. Our children earn little and they have their expenses. After fulfilling their children’s need our need was burden to them. We knew everything but it was impossible for us to accept that we cannot be together anymore. I shamelessly asked my elder son and he was very surprised. He informed me that none of them are capable of taking care both of us.

I tried to adjust. But every morning when I wake up I wanted to see her smile. I spent my whole day by waiting for my son’s arrival so I could talk to her with the phone he had. But he arrived late night when on the other side my daughter usually went to sleep. The day when I was able to hear her voice none of us could speak a word. I heard how hard she tried to keep clam her tearful voice and I murmured stupid things. I never thought life can become so meaningless without each other. Every day I felt to run to my daughter’s house which was far away from mine. Then one day by gaining some courage I told her that I wanted to run together. By surprising me, she asked me to go right away. I took my walking stick and never looked back. We run away together with empty hand.

Now I sell children’s toy. I hardly can manage 100 taka every day and after I return to home I found food on our bed. Our children arrived once to see us last year; they told us how we failed them, how humiliated they felt for our behavior. We did not say anything. We do not want to hurt them. They decided to never come again. Sometimes we feel bad for our children, we miss them. But we know we are running out of time. I am fifteen years older than my wife. Any day I may die in the road while selling children’s toy. So I keep saving some money in a mud bank, I do not want my wife to beg to people to finish my last work. But every day my wife cries a lot during her prayer, whenever I ask her why she is crying so much, she would always say, ‘I want to die with you’.

– Samsuddin Miah (77) with her wife Rekha Begum (62)


For Shamsuddin Chacha, it’s very hard to walk miles after miles by carrying toys in his back. After all his hard work the little money he earns goes for his cancer patient wife’s medicine. After daily struggle of managing food and medicine, every day they find their way in their wrecked one bed room house. I along my facebook page GMB Akash friends comes forward to help him. ‘After receiving the rickshaw van and shoe business we are very happy. We pray to God so we can move forward with this work. I cannot thank enough everyone who has helped us. We are feeling like today is an Eid day’ – Shamsuddin Miah


Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal …


He was about to throw my one month old boy. I was holding his leg and he was kicking me constantly. There were scars in every parts of my body. With blade, knife and needle. Sometimes by holding my legs he pulled me out in such a speed that it was very difficult to keep my clothes on my body. My daughter had run behind me by taking one of her scarf to cover the naked parts of my body. She used to scream, ‘Please, help my mother.’ But no one came to help us. He had beaten me on the road. Someday my girl counted the scars of my body and often told me that she lost those unlimited counts. My husband was a heroin addict. After selling everything I had, we were the only things for him to sell. I used to keep poison with me all the time. My daughter knew that it was poison. Whenever we were hurt, by holding and crying to me she asked, ‘When will we have the poison, maa?’ I asked her, ‘Why?’ By weeping her eyes off she replied, ‘It’s very painful to live.’ Then that night arrived when I decided to end all our pains. We were counting hours for our death. My one month old son was smiling in his dream. I could not put poison on his mouth. I held both of them with my chest and ran away, ran away before anyone could sell us or kill us. At that midnight no one asked us what had happened, where were we going? Whenever I was slowing my daughter was crying and telling me, ‘Run Maa, run.’ When the sun was rising, we heard the sound of azaan and crows were flying all over above our heads. I asked myself, ‘Where should I go?’ I wanted to give a chance to me and my children, by breathing in free air, by having some courage to dream. Without knowing where to go, whom to knock. I do not know what we will eat tomorrow. My daughter is struggling every single day to feed us. I am incapable of walking straight. Every night I heard my daughter crying secretly, whenever I touch her head to calm her down she often whisper, ‘Everything will be okay, very soon.’ I nod and say ‘Yes’ to her. Knowing very well nothing will change, light will never enter in our lives, we will never be able to smile. Not everyone knows how it feels to be happy in life.

– Rani (33)

Rani wanted to change her life. To help her we settled her with a rickshaw van and spice business.



Everyone can help someone. Everyday can be a different day. Thanks for becoming a part of this change making journey by giving your warm words, by offering your gift and making everyone believe that humanity exist

–         GMB Akash

Incredible Humans

Incredible Humans are extraordinarily beautiful. And the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Welcome to my blog to meet 10 incredible humans : ten workers of all time who were previously featured on my Facebook page:  GMB Akash

Undoubtedly their views on life will fill us with awe and leave us in wonder. Let’s have some inspiration to celebrate May Day.


‘We do everything a man does, our working hours are same. But when I went to take my wage the manager gave me 50 taka less than my male coworker. I asked what my mistake was. He shouted on me and said, ‘You did more work than him. But you don’t wear shirt. You are a woman. You will get always less.’ The next day I came to work by wearing a shirt. All the men laughed at me. I ignored them and asked the manager to pay me equal as I wore a shirt after listening to him. I clearly saw he was hesitating and was afraid of my bravery. But again he said, ‘He will pay all women equal if all of us could wear shirts.’ He gave me a smile like a fox. I lost hope, knowing no one will wear a shirt. The next day when I arrived at the field all women were wearing their husband’s shirt on the top of their saree. I never could imagine the manager would be this much afraid of seeing us together. He paid all women equal to men for the first time during his ten years in the brick field’s history. From that day girls call me, ‘Hero’. I don’t mind!’ – Taslima


‘I lost my mother when I was very young. I always tried to please my stepmother. I do not know but why she never tolerated my shadow. She had beaten me a lot. I used to stand silently the times she was beating me, I could not cry, as she told me that if I cried she would throw me out from the house. After tolerating all these, one day she finally threw me from my home. I cried loudly all night by standing in front of the closed door, but not even my father came out to take me back. I came to Dhaka from Chadpur. I used to roam around all the streets and sometimes ate from dustbins. Then one day I got this job, a job as a sweeper. But the sad thing is, everyone hates us, no one talks to us. Today I am very happy, brother, nobody ever took my photo, no one ever wanted to know if I have something to share. When you tell my story to people please tell them not to hate us. If we stop cleaning, you will die. We are servant, we go into your rubbish and by becoming dirty we cleanse you.  Please do not look at us with hatred’

– Md. Rabbi (18)


‘One day madam bought a girl of nine years old. Her stepmother sold her to a brothel and then spread the news that she had been lost. The stepmother was satisfied to get rid of a stepdaughter for a life time and 3000 taka was just a bonus of selling a human being. My madam gave the little girl to me to prepare for clients. She was a doll, her pink chubby cheeks and big brown eyes melted my heart. When she cried and cuddled me at night I felt like that baby was made of milk. I went through forced abortions two times; for me Putul was my lost fetus. I bought her a doll to play with. After seven days she was able to speak, her first question was, ‘will that madam cut my hands and send me for begging’? I closed my eyes and whispered, ‘they will do much worse than anyone’s imagination’. Madam was impatient and gave me one week to teach her all the tricks of the business. And I planned something else by putting my life at risk. The day before they fixed a client for Putul, I communicated with one of my old admirers to talk to an organization who was working with orphans. I knew they would kill me if they found me while or after transporting the girl to the orphanage. But that time I did not care about my life. I was able to get her free from this hell. She left her toy doll for me as her memory. I know there must be thousands of such hells waiting for the girl but at least I was able to save her from the biggest one. Please pray for my baby; may she get all the happiness and love in her life; may her chubby cheeks always gets rosy from laughter.’

– Purnima, a sex worker


‘I am trying hard to love the job I am doing. But it seems impossible to be happy with my work life. I am giving my one hundred percent. Not a single day do I arrive late at work nor ever overlook any of my mistakes. My job is to help passengers on the train. After giving my best, so many times people have misbehaved with me. It really hurts. People behave miserably to such an extent that I lose control over myself but I never utter a single negative word against passengers. After returning home, many nights I tried to understand why everyday people are becoming aggressive; why educated-socialized people are uttering ugly words against someone they do not even know. Maybe now-a-days we all are going through so much stress and anxiety; who knows? But behaving well to people is not only my job responsibility, it’s my moral value. I only earn 5000 taka monthly; it’s very difficult to run a family with the amount of money I am receiving. But that does not mean I will only perform according to my salary scale; I want to perform my best.’ – Pappu (22)


‘I was very happy when I got a job as receptionist. I only went up to class eight so I was surprised when I got the job while I actually went for a peon post. I belong to a poor family and I have little brothers. My mother was very happy by the kindness of my boss. How lucky was I to get a respectable job with my little education! Things were okay at the beginning. But then I started feeling what only a woman can feel with her inborn senses Many things happened and I could not drop my job and tried to adjust as much as I could. One day when I was showing the appointment list to my boss he touched my hand and asked if I had I heard about Sunny Leone. He would be happy to watch a film of hers with me. I just said, ‘no’ and ran from his room. I cried my heart out while returning home. But I decided to speak up. The next day during lunch sir’s wife came with lunch. I entered inside the boss’s room and with a brief greeting boldly said, ‘Mam, do you know Sunny Leone? Sir wants to watch a movie of hers with me.’ I could never forget their faces. That was my slap to the most educated man. I am very happy with my textile job, I am a worker, but I have dignity, which I will never compromise for money and a reputed post.’

– Nilu, Textile worker


‘I am not living with my husband and in-laws anymore. I was fed up living with a drug addict, who sold everything I had: my saree, sandals, even the bucket of the bathroom. My in-laws kept taunting me as they believed I was the one who could change him but I failed. I realized it would be very late if I did not leave him at that point. But I loved him entirely. It was not easy for me to leave my husband and start a life with my only child. My brothers shut their door in my face. My grandmother was the only one who gave me shelter and helped me to find work. What more could I accept from a ninety-year old woman? She did not turn off her love while the rest of the world kept blaming me by saying what an awful woman I am who broke up her own marriage. But I know my suffering, my fights, my fears and my limits. No one else felt what I had gone through. Yesterday, my child cried all day as I cannot breastfeed her in the work place, publicly. I know well how men gave nasty looks; women pass bitter comments and breastfeeding becomes a sin for working women. But today, when my daughter started crying, I said to myself, if I can go against the society for the betterment of my child, then I can breastfeed her too. There should be a stop to this limitation and I am no longer afraid of what society says about me.’

– Jesmin (28)


My wife died when my daughter was 40 days old. My daughter was my reason to live. I never thought to remarry. When she was a child I used to take her with me to work. Everyone used to laugh at me. I had not much money to send her to school. But at night I took her with me to the elderly school. Together we learned to read and write. When she turned fifteen a good marriage proposal came from a far away village. We are very poor. I could not give her anything. She took my writing book with her as my memory. I did not have money to visit her nor did her husband let her come to meet me. When she became pregnant I went to see her. She held my hand and said if she dies I had to take her child with me. I scolded her for her childish behaviour. She requested me to spend a night there, but her in-laws did not let me so I came back. My daughter died during her delivery. Her daughter is one year old. I take care of her.‘ – Abu Mia (65)


My mother flew with me when my father wanted to make me disabled after my birth, so that he could use me for begging. I do not know, what my mother actually does; she sleeps the whole day and works at night when I sleep. We live in the street. Our neighbours and the police call me the ‘whore’s daughter’. Mom told me not to reply to them as bad people always talk bad. I am a flower seller. I sell flowers; I do not beg. But people have no time to look at flowers. I pop into the windows of big cars and see beautiful children with their parents. Sometimes I wonder, didn’t their dad want to sell their organs or want to make them disabled for begging? One day a rich mom bought all of my flowers for her girl but when the girl wanted to give me the money, her mom said not to touch me, I might have a disease. The baby girl threw the money in the air and I caught it. That day made me the best flower seller among all.’ – Lutfa

Aklima (1)

‘I started working as a labourer a year ago. Including me only ten females are working at this site. The constructor does not like to employ women. There are fifty men working besides us. They always get break time to drink tea or smoke cigarettes. But we, the female group never get any break. For almost a year the strongest man of our group is making fun of us every day. Sometimes he says, he can carry more buckets of stones than the women, even when he sleeps. The contractor laughed loudly at his jokes. And sometimes after transporting all buckets of stones he showed us his muscle and the men laughed at us. A week ago I asked our contractor to give us at least half an hour break. He mocked me, pointed to the macho man and openly declared, he will give women equal break time, if I or any other woman can beat the man the next day. I looked at our women’s group and they were looking at the ground. On my way back home, my little girl was warning me never to challenge a man. I asked her why, then my five-year-old girl fearfully showed me her muscle and told me, ‘We don’t have this.’ The next day, when I came to work I told them I was ready to take the challenge. When I started carrying the stone buckets beside our macho man, everyone stopped working and started clapping. It turned into some kind of game. I had no idea how time had passed. When the contractor asked me to stop I looked at the man beside me. He was lying on the ground, already very much exhausted. Then I saw, I transported fifty more buckets than him. When every woman was screaming in joy, I looked at my girl, she jumped into my chest. I did not say a word. I had to prove to my little girl that, women too have muscle but they do not like to show it.’ – Aklima


“I found out my daughter had an affair with a boy for five years. She never spoke about it as she is always afraid of me. Apart from that I assumed my children always hated me for the job I have been doing since my childhood. I asked her to bring the boy and his family to our house. I decorated the house like a new bride and brought the best food for them. I have been saving for my daughter’s marriage for twenty years. That day my daughter was the happiest ever. When they started the conversation they brought out a note of demand. They wanted all material things a family needs, I was calculating and nodded in agreement with every word they said. After all it’s about the happiness of my daughter. The last point was that they did not want me to be introduced in front of their relatives and I should never go to visit my daughter. The moment they said it my daughter screamed in anger and by surprising all she slapped the boy. She angrily said, ‘My father can do the thing that no one can do. Not everyone can clean others’ messes. I am proud of what he does and if you do not leave my house in one minute I will beat you all.’ She broke the marriage proposal and ended her five-year relationship in one second. From that day I knew what a fortunate and happy person I am.’ – Sweeper Monu lal




The Geometry of Love

With you
I feel like, I am wearing perfume in the middle of the desert.
With you
I am like, a nomad having a nameless home.

Ten Love stories shared from the series Heroes of Life; these are real love life experiences of the people portrayed here.

Featured first on my Facebook page:  GMB Akash


‘I got married at the age of twelve. My husband was twice my age. I cried the whole night by sitting on my wedding bed. He was embarrassed. He shyly said he would allow me to do whatever I wanted to do. He kept his promise. He brought me dolls to play with. But my in-laws did not like my freedom. They asked him to send me back to my parents. When their torture became intolerable, by holding my hands he left his parent’s house. Here, we built our heaven fifty years ago. I played with dolls and then with my five children. By fishing he earned a living for us. Every corner of our hut was built by him. I used to sit beside him, singing songs and he continued to repair our broken bamboo walls. One night he left me alone, he died in his sleep with a slight smile on his face. Our house was his existence for me. I used to touch the fence,the wall and could feel him there. During Aila, the flood washed away my hut. Now there is no sign of my home. Still I come here to find a sign of my existence, try to find him in my lost home’ – Saira Begum


‘She was four years older than me. She was black but more beautiful than a fairy. However, I had never paid attention to her face because her heart was so overwhelmingly beautiful to cherish. I have never seen someone caring like her in my life. If any woman of the village got sick she had to be there. In our village women hardly went to the hospital. Besides being a midwife, she used to always stay with all pregnant women. But in our conservative village, most of the people talked badly about her. No one was ready to marry her. I had fallen for this crazy girl from my childhood. One day I found the courage to tell it to my mother. Surprisingly, my mother fought with everyone to make Hasna her daughter-in-law. We knew that no one would attend our wedding but to our surprise the day we got married more than 100 women from different villages came to wish us well. I never knew she had provided education to all these women also. My wife died three years ago. We have no children. For me, her love was enough. After her death, I donated our only piece of land for establishing a girl’s school. I know she must be smiling from heaven.’ – Rohmot Miah



‘I was thirteen when we got married. I had never seen him before our marriage. When we first met, we were sitting like strangers, who had no idea what actually we could talk about. We hadn’t spoken a word even on our wedding day. I had never thought the man sitting beside me would slowly become the most important reason behind my life. There were days when my in-laws pushed him, asking him to remarry as I could not conceive after five years of our marriage. One day out of frustration, I packed all my belongings and wanted to silently go away from his life. That day, he cried to me, begged me not to leave him. That was the first day of my life when I first realized how lucky I am. It’s been sixty years that we have been with each other. We have always been just by ourselves. There are days when he cannot manage to bring anything from the bazaar, poverty has been always a part of our life. Both of us often fall sick. We are seeing each other grow old and slowly moving towards death. But we never felt alone, never felt our life was incomplete and in need of a child. During the rainy season, he goes fishing and I wait for him to come back. Sometimes, he tells me how much he is afraid of leaving me alone while he has to go fishing at night. Even today, we have no food in our home. And I have no idea when he can bring something for us. But right now, we are enjoying this winter sun, talking with each other about our old days. We know well, very soon one or both of us will die, and there will be no one to cry for us.’ – Saleha Begum




I move from places to places. From villages to villages. Everyone calls me beggar Kulsum. You can call me too. No one knows from where I have come from. I never tell anyone who am I. I had a mansion, surrounded by three ponds and four gardens. It was always hard to fall in sleep because the smell of the flowers was so strong at night. Often times I felt heaven is my home. And there was always my supportive husband. Every morning I prepared uncountable cakes for him and he never let me to wear same saree more than a few times. I never allowed my maids to clean our in-houses; they were responsible for only outhouse. I had passed forty seven years of our marriage life by making cakes, watering trees and wakening up at nights alone when he left for business in far places. I got married when I was ten; my husband was the only friend I had. I had passed my married life by making cakes and wondering at our beautiful gardens. My husband never let me feel alone in our child less life. I remained happy in his light. One day I went to see one of my sick maids, there I accidently met a woman who was wearing the same wedding bangle I had. Eventually by my maid I found out that my husband kept his second marriage secret from me for twenty years. There he had two daughters and a son. I spent my nights by looking at his face and realized how much he had loved me. May be every day he thought to leave me, may be in every festival he wanted to spend his time with his new family, maybe he felt guilt when I put my right hand every night on his chest. ..Because he had loved me and I was his only friend too. I wanted him to be happy without regret. I also wanted a happy memory of my very loving husband with our all ponds and gardens…I convinced one of my loyal maid to spread the news that I accidentally fell in river and swept away. She did it by the exchange of all my gold ornaments. You are talking to dead Umme Kulsum. She died twenty years ago. No one cried for her, neither I. Sometimes people ask me what they will do when I will die and what my last wish is. I said it to no one before you. If ever he arrives by searching me tell him I missed our home, gardens and him every single second of my life. But I wanted him to be free from my love. His happiness is what I wanted if required by my life. And I do not regret what I had done. Sometimes in love you have to leave.

– Umme Kulsum



‘I loved Surma before I knew how it felt to be in love. Her black skin was as beautiful as diamonds; even more beautiful was the depth of her black eyes. My uncle arranged our marriage suddenly while her village doctor father was on his death bed. Her father touched my hands and said, ‘Surma’s mother died when she was born. I was never able to give her the love she needed. I have failed as a father. Promise me, you will never fail as her husband.’ I promised him.

It was raining heavily, I was riding in my boat while my newlywed wife was sitting in the center of my boat with her world. There were her three kittens, one dog, five chickens and a goat. When we arrived at our house, my mother came out to perform some rituals to receive us. After looking at Surma and her belongings she fainted. With hesitation, on our wedding night when I asked her to send back all her animals she attacked me and with her hands she was beating on my chest like I was a drum. Before I understood anything my twelve year-old wife ran away into the jungle; all her animals fled with her. I spent my wedding night searching for my wife and her animals.

When we got married I had nothing, Surma changed every corner of my rundown hut. She was able to repair everything except my mother’s heart. One day I came from work and found her tied up with rope along with her cats, dogs and goats. I rushed to release everyone; she stopped me and said, ‘It’s my punishment. Do not disrespect amma and do not ask her any questions.’ I looked at my mother and she looked away. I was sure, Surma would be able to melt my mother’s heart. But it was too late. After ten years we had no children. One night Surma took my hand over her head and asked me to remarry. I could not control myself and slapped her. She attacked me and again disappeared into the jungle. I went to my mother and told her no one can force me to remarry while I still have life.

It was our ten-year anniversary of marriage. Again a monsoon. That day Surma was very calm and quiet. By looking at her smiling face, I reassured her, I will be only with her for the rest of my life and I could adopt all her animals as the father. She smiled through her deep black eyes. In the evening when I returned she was lying dead in my yard. Villagers had brought her from the river where they found her floating.

Sixty years has been passed. I am still alone, living with only my memories and animals. When my mother was dying she asked for my forgiveness. I couldn’t do it. My love will never forgive them: not my mother, not my Surma. I am still the man who sees those deep black eyes every night. Sometimes I go into the jungle and search for Surma, I want to bring her back to my life again. But she has gone far away; without knowing how much I loved her.’ – Abdul goni


‘My wife has a habit of snoring during her sleep. At night, only she sleeps. I stay awake and listen to her music. When she falls asleep she starts her tempo taxi. It goes up and down and then up again. This room is very humid and we do not have any fan. The window we have is the only source of ventilation. At night, I keep the window and the door wide open for some time so that air can enter into our room. The problem is, when Arju falls asleep, our neighbor starts yelling. She will shout and tell me, ‘Stop the earthquake or we will kick you both out of this slum.’ On this issue, I have had enough fighting with all our neighbors. Oftentimes I looked at her, wanted to wake her up but when I saw her sleeping so peacefully after a long working day, I just could not do it. At the end, I shut the door tightly and also the only window. I can sleep in humidity, with loud music, but I could never stop my tempo and ruin her peaceful sleep.’ – Textile worker Arju’s husband Liton



Sometimes I go to visit my ex-wife. I really do not have anyone else to go to. She does not allow me to stay more than a few minutes. Everyone says she is a very bad woman but I know how her circumstances were. I cannot blame her so easily. I was not able to buy her a saree for years. She had starved days after days with me. I heard her crying every night. We lost our only child because I didn’t have money for the treatment….

Now maybe she is happy. ..When I last visited her, she gave me sweets to eat. Now she keeps sweets in her new room since I visited her. Maybe she does not forget how much I love sweets… Life would have been so very different if I could have fed us and saved our child…

I can never hate her for leaving me or for choosing to be a prostitute. I was never able to curse her. For everyone she is a whore but for me she is still my Moina.’

– Komesh Mia (45)



‘I have not gone to work for two days. I have to stay with my wife. We do not have any mobile phone; what if she needs something? We live on an island; people have prejudices against going to the hospital. The boatman did not agree to take us at night when my wife was vomiting so much. Everyone including my parents tried to stop me from taking her to the hospital. But I could not sit silently when she was suffering that much. I navigated the boat at night alone and after facing great difficulty I admitted her into the hospital. This place was full of patients. The nurses told me to wait till they arranged a bed. But my wife was feeling very afraid; that’s why I was telling her one joke after another. I wanted to make her smile; when she smiles everything seems okay.’ – Tayeb Miah


I am a very sensitive guy and my wife is a spy. So, we fight more than we eat. Ask what I told her during a fight seven years ago, she will tell you in detail. Ask how she insulted me last night I cannot tell you a word. We have been married for seven years. I never spend a day without my family. Even when she cooks I sit beside her with our children. Yesterday all of us were very happy because we planned to go to watch a circus which was taking place near us. Then suddenly she told me how much she likes the new girl who had started working a few days ago. I said yes, that she is a very innocent girl. She asked, ‘really’? I nodded. And then we had a terrible fight. She stopped talking to me. I asked her a thousand times what I had done. She called over my daughter and asked her to tell me that I did nothing. After going to work she was ignoring me and started working on a different side. I cannot take it. I hate this spying but I cannot live without her nonsense.’

– Morshed & Moriyum



‘I saw her first at a village fair. She was eating sweets. I fell in love instantly. I fell in love when I was seventeen. My father was a farmer, so am I. She was the only girl from the respectable Mia Bari. I could not say anything to her as she belongs to a rich family. But I continued to follow her everywhere secretly and silently. In three years I did not say a word to her. Then a very good marriage proposal came for her and I knew that I had to watch her royal marriage helplessly. On the night of her engagement I cried my heart out sitting in my boat on the riverside near my house. Suddenly I saw someone running towards the boat and before I understood anything, she started rowing the boat. Even in my dreams, I never imagined something like that could happen in my life. The first thing she said to me was, ‘Stupid, you are very stupid.’ It’s been forty years she is calling me stupid every day. I am very happy to be stupid.’ – Makbul Mia ( 60)


A drop of your love got mixed in my cup

I could drink the bitters of life.




‘Many Miles Many Smiles’

You are loved! ❤

That is the note every child received. In five straight days I had reached more than 500 impoverished Bangladeshi children and gifted one goodie bag each that consisted of an item of new clothes, a pair of slippers and chocolate. Then together we headed for the group lunch. The children grinned from ear to ear, laughed and screamed in joy and burst out in happiness. All this happened due to a ‘three day campaign in my Facebook fan page’. I would like to thank every friend who has donated HAPPINESS to these children. Thanks for sharing your world with these children. During five days from morning to noon I had unforgettable moments with street children, child labourers and unprivileged rural children. My friends, in this video I am sharing a glimpse of that joyous experience which which many of you have created along me. I am welcoming you to have a look at what have you brought to these children!

Click in this Link to watch the video: Video of Many Miles Many Smiles

‘Is this mine?’ Salauddin uttered with surprise. ‘Are these all for us?’ with the same surprise, Ratan, Sojib and Yusuf asked. I nodded with a smile and before I could answer, Sojib run up and called out every child’s name they are living with. To my surprise within half an hour about a hundred of children encircled me with a thousand questions. I handed every child one goodie bag that consisted of a new pair of slippers, new clothes item and chocolate. Their sparkling eyes, bright smiles and warm words made the evening unforgettable. Among them a few were not smiling and seemed confused. I patted them on their backs and asked what happened and then questioned them if they weren’t happy with the new things. With hesitation they asked me if I could provide them with some food to eat as they had not eaten anything since yesterday. That moment I decided besides giving them one goodie bag I will also treat them in a good restaurant and make their day fulfilled. When I declared they can have their lunch in a restaurant their happiness exceeded its limit.

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There are hundreds of boys and girls who work as child labourers with their parents who work in the brick fields. While Munni was wearing her new given dress, she shared with me, ‘I hadn’t gotten any dress or shoes for last Eid. Today is my Eid day.’ While wearing their clothes and slippers they continued to laugh, showing their new things to each other and continued to giggle as they saw me waving and leaving them.

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The hardest part was to buy different clothes and slippers for different age groups. I would like to give special thanks to my students and companions Tutul, Disary and Proshanto for their generous time and effort. By this post I would like to thank each of you who have helped me with time, labour and generosity for this mission.

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The scenarios in the factories weren’t different. The child labourer formed a queue voluntarily and continued to surprise me by their gratefulness. I could not imagine a small goodie bag could give so much happiness. When they opened their gifts each of them smiled instantly. Even in the rural village where  our ‘First Light School’ has its junior students, those who belong to extremely poor families burst out in joy while receiving their gifts. All of them gathered, lined up and shouted ‘Thank you!’

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My friends, see what we have done together with a small three day campaign. Your generosity filled hundreds of innocent souls with the greatest gift of ‘Happiness’. Thank you! Thank you for showing them that there are people in the world who have a heart to love and give.

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Innocent Feet

Shaheen (10 years old) does not feel badly anymore to walk with empty feet. Five months ago when he first started walking without sandals, broken pieces of glass and small sheets of tin oftentimes cut his feet. Sometimes when he would hop onto a running train to save himself from the station inspector, the damaged surface of the train’s step would injure his bare feet which caused him much suffering for some nights. In pain, he could not work for a few days. Nowadays, Shaheen thinks dirt layer surfaces for his feet are actually saving him from injuries.

Abu saleh

Abu Saleh (11)

Ali noor (10 )Ali Noor (10)

Ali raj (12)

Ali Raj (12)

Arman (10)

Arman (10)

Badshah (9)

Badshah (9)

When Shaheen’s mother was alive she used to put oil on his hands, legs and hair. Shaheen knew his mother well and if she could see him now, she would do it again. She had never beaten him ever. But after her death when the new mother arrived, she and his father used to beat him every night. Often he had to spend the night in the yard in front of the closed door of his father’s house. One morning last summer, Shaheen left his village and took the train which was coming to Dhaka. He no longer misses his past except for his mother.

Shahin (10)

Shaheen (10)

bappi (11)

Bappi (11)

Emon ali (12)

Emon Ali (12)



Now he carries the goods of passengers in the train station in bare feet. Even if he wishes to buy a pair of sandals, how will he manage money? And if he does manage to buy them, how will he safeguard them? Yesterday his friend Ismail’s new sandals were stolen and Ismail cried for the whole day. He had bought them with 150 taka by saving two days of income. Ismail now collects empty plastic bottles to sell in the recycle shop and has not spoken to anyone since he lost his sandals.



IMG_8870 ibrahim 11,  (1)


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Ibrahim ii


Like Shaheen and Ismail, Shakil, Jahangir, Baii, Imon Ali, Arman, Emon, Fahim, hundreds of children are moving around in the train station in bare feet. All of them are living in the same condition. Some came here a few months ago and some came years ago.

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Alamin (8)

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Tonni (9)

Shahin (10)

Every one of them has two similarities. One is that they all walk the whole day in bare feet in order to earn bread and the other is the tragedy of their lives. Most of them left home because of the loss of their parents, or torture by their step parents, or because of acute poverty.

Jahangir 13

Jahangir (13)

With those small bare feet they used to run away by escaping the eyes of the station master or station police. When the trains arrive or passengers come, they run swiftly over the hot stoned train tracks and take a load on their heads. If they get 10 taka (one cent) they buy nuts for lunch and if they can earn more, they can have rice and lentils. This 7-12 year-old children’s feet are telling the tales of their fate: evidence that tells how they are bearing their lonely young lives on those innocent feet.

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Oil Noor (7)

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 A question to humanity from a 11 year old Maruf:

‘No one cares for us. I cut my feet by broken piece of tin. It bleeds for days but no one stops and asks to help me. Like me hundreds of children are walking in bare feet and no one ever asks us if they can give a pair of slipper. Isn’t this a selfish world with cold hearted people.’



Can we together prove him wrong? Can you donate slippers for these street children and show them that we care about their suffering, their bare feet matters to us? Can we?

I am going to gift slippers to these street children on 7th January, 2016. If you want to donate for slippers please email at you can donate slippers (size 33 – size 40) at our address; To know details you can also message me at facebook (

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Lastly I hope my favorite quote will inspire you as much as it inspires me:

I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

sami hamja 10, mother died ,  father is a heroin addict

Sami Hamja

Smoke and Ashes

Rozina counts every day for six months running. Her family starts working long before the sun rises even when her small kids are remaining in the deepest sleep. She feels bad about calling them for work but like every day she cruelly has to do it. Everyone comes to have breakfast when the rice is still in the process of cooking. She rapidly waves her hand and lets the fire rise. During this time she quietly thinks about their time in the village that is far far away from this isolated brick field. She recalls her abandoned home and acutely feels a need to see the village sooner. But her urge quickly vanishes when she also remembers those days of starvation. Jalil sleeps in the bed that is made by gathering brick after brick. Rozina tried to hide those bricks by a flowery bed cover. Razina and Jalil have been married for ten years. Along with their five-year daughter and six year old son her family comes to work in this brick filed for six months in every year. 

Five years old Sadia is working in the brick field for first time. Along her, seven members of the family are serving in the brick field to repay their loan. Sadia’s job is to dry 5000 bricks every day. For such seven days work she weekly gets 250 taka ($3). Sadia who once used to be naughty now hardly talk. She only smiles when after working she finishes collecting coal for her family.

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akash (6)The houses that have been built by brick field owners are home to 100 brick field workers’ families. Just like Rozina they are living in hope of returning to their village one day. No one decorates their house. If a family buys any new item it goes into a box and it remain there until they get a final call to go back to their real home in the village. Rozina’s red bangles, her daughter’s new shoes, boy’ toy; everything goes into the trunk. She also keeps some precious things of her mother-in-law who dies last year from tuberculosis. Everyone says her mother-in-law died because she worked in the brick filed. Rozina does not believe it. Once the whole family strived for three days and no one died that time. Death is written by fate. This brick field is a way for them to survive; a way to feed themselves and their children.

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The sound of songs awakens the brick field locality. The brick field workers start working. They are used to listening to songs from their mobile phones. The rhythm of the songs motivates them to work. Rahmat Miah has been working in brick field for seventeen years. The day he started understanding life he found himself in the brick field. During childhood he used to help his father for transferring bricks or lining the piles. Till today he does not do any work other than working in brick field. After carrying 5000 bricks he can manage to earn 200 taka for doing the bazaar shopping for his family. Sometimes he could save a little amount after cutting all costs. But his body does not help him much. Every month he has to take leave for 4-5 days because of illness then he has to spend out of that precious savings for food or medicine.

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Men, women and children everyone remains busy in the brick field. Sometimes when the sun goes up in the overhead a few older men or women fall to the ground. Then they get an hour break. They have to carry or shift or line up 5000-10000 bricks every day. However they loudly chat in a half an hour break. They smoke and talk about the economy and the politics. Women generally rest in silence and sometimes go to their quarters to do quick house chores. Children work continuously. It seems that working is some kind of important game. Small Minara who is just four years old collects coal from the brick field. Why does she collect coal? After a long silence she replies boldly, ‘This is my job’.

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During the one hour lunch break they eat a lot. Three plates of rice and lentil is their daily lunch menu. Men who are living with their families eat with them; those who came alone to the brick field eat in groups of men. A few go to take a quick nap. This is a kind of moment when they will not speak or hear a single word. All are tired, very very tired. Life goes on; work starts again after break.

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Smoke and ashes blow everywhere. Workers’ bodies turn black in smoke and ashes and their feet turn black like coal. Still they continue to work in a dreamless brick field. In the middle of this Rozina dreams to go back to her village. Rahmat tries hard to save a few pennies, the children continue to collect coal. Very Far from the town the workers of the brick field continue to work to build our urban world.

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