Though maintaining gardens, farming fish and working in garment factories in Bangladesh isn’t easy, Pomilla and Suresh have worked hard to care for their family. And since their involvement with Bangladesh Baptist Fellowship, the family now dreams of greater joys. They have the tools to flourish, to grow well.
While Suresh stays in the city for his work at the factory, Sudhira lives with Pomilla, helping with the garden and fish farm, and throughout their community. She studies when she can and helps the village children or neighbours with their work.
Suresh takes pride in his work as an operator at a garment factory. In fact, he’s worked 13 years in various roles at this particular factory. He laughs when he can’t remember the names of the clothing brands he’s worked on. His colleagues, male and female, laugh with him even as they work hard on the clothing products. ‘We always remain happy. They all like me’, he says smiling. The company pays him daily and pays for his medical fees when he needs care—though he knows other factories are not as good to their workers. Many are cheated or abused. Suresh takes nothing for granted.
Like so many in the world, Suresh’s earnings were reduced when the pandemic hit. He wasn’t able to get overtime pay because many shipments were small, and sometimes there were no orders at all from foreign countries. His factory reduced his hours but he was glad to keep his job. He knew his family would be all right.
I want to thank my Australian friends for making us aware about all these.
‘When I first came here (to Dhaka), Pomilla was not involved with Baptists. But at the meetings they discussed lots of things and give advice. I feel good about it. I cannot give them much time but I knew they will say good things. This is why I felt encouraged and told her to go. I don’t understand the children’s club for Sudhira but I think that it is good.’
Because of what Pomilla and Sudhira have learned through the Baptist aid programs, Suresh does not need to tell them to wear a mask. He sends extras he’s received from his company but the Baptists have given them masks as well. His company hopes to supply more hours for him soon so he can save more earnings for his family.
Pomilla tends her garden, sending fruit and vegetables to her husband in Dhaka when she can, and selling the rest along with fish from her fish farm at the local market. If she needs anything, she takes out a loan from her group, pays them back quickly and helps her community when they don’t have anything. She’s the happiest when she’s, ‘worshiping my God and dreaming of when I am sending my daughter to school. I hope she will study well and after completing her studies, she will get a job and take care of her parents. This is my hope.’
Sudhira smiles at the idea of a job after her studies. She, too, has grown stronger and healthier in her village life through the Baptist programs, content to help her mother and work toward her dreams of education.
‘My mother loves me very much. She takes good care of me. I want to say (there is much) I did not know earlier. Then I went to child club. There I have learned about cleanliness, coronavirus. I want to thank my Australian friends for making us aware about all these.’