SWAPNO Stories

Shiuly sees a ray of hope as SWAPNO aids her during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 08 Sep, 2020

Shiuly Begum (38), hails from Kanchipara union of Fulchari Upazila of Gaibandha district, joins SWAPNO this year with a dream to become self-dependent. Having two children, she lives with her mother as her husband divorced her seven years ago. At that time, she was not involved in any job. “I had a hard time nurturing my children. I used to do agricultural work before coming to SWAPNO project. I was totally clueless about my family’s future. After seven years of distress and struggle, I decided to become financially independent and joined SWAPNO.”
Shiuly got enrolled in public works program and started to earn money. “I started to gain confidence. SWAPNO helps me to rethink about my life.” Things were going well till the sudden emergence of Coronavirus.
One day, while Shiuly was working, heard about Coronavirus pandemic. “We were informed that all activities will be stopped from now as Coronavirus has taken away lives of many people. I was feeling nervous and think about what will happen to my family.” 


“After some days, SWAPNO team came and provided soaps and masks to us. They told us to wear masks all the time. They also show us how to wash hands in a proper manner. We learnt to wash our hands 10-12 times for around 20 seconds. Another thing that was new for us is to maintain physical distance from each other – around 3 feet. We have to maintain personal hygiene. SWAPNO team told us that by following these instructions will not only safeguard us against COVID-19 but also from other diseases like diarrhea, cholera, etc. I started to teach my family and people living in my area about these rules. I told them to maintain both cleanliness and social distancing as Coronavirus transmits from one person to another through sneeze, cough, etc.”
“Soap and mask primarily ensure the safety of my family but we faced financial problems as I had no work. Considering our condition, SWAPNO team gave us BDT 1500 in our bKash accounts. With that money, I managed to maintain my family for a while.”
Shiuly was overwhelmed with joy when she came to know about the food relief program of SWAPNO.

Shiuly-1“We were extremely happy to hear about the food package distribution program. We heard that UNDP, in association with United Group, will provide us a food package containing rice, lentil, flour, soya bean oil, sugar, puffed rice, salt, potato and soaps. In this trying times, this was a great help for us” – Shiuly added.
Shiuly had no ambition before joining SWAPNO project. Now she aspires to play the role of both father and mother for her children. “Both of my son and daughter stood first in their classes. I want to create a better future for them. My dream is to become a role model for my children. As SWAPNO stands by me during this hard time, I am hopeful that I can fulfill my dream.”


Written by: Kashfia Sharmin