Story of Rashida: Confronting COVID-19 with SWAPNO’s assistancePosted on 08 Sep, 2020
Three years back, when Rashida Khatun’s (35) husband disowned her for good and left her with three children, she had no idea on how she could even survive. Rashida originates from Syampur Union of Jamalpur district. She has joined SWAPNO this year. “When my husband decided to leave me, I was in extreme shock. I had no single source of income. I came to my parent’s house and started to work as maid servant. But I was not able to feed my three children properly with the skimpy income that I made.”
After joining SWAPNO, Rashida started working on public works program. “I started to make a handsome income which helps to run my family”- she added. But on March, while working, she heard from one of the Union workers about the outbreak of Coronavirus. Union worker told us that due to COVID-19, we can’t work from now. We have to stay home now. She told us that Coronavirus is a contagious disease which spreads through sneeze and cough. We felt terrified about the outcome of it. I was worried about my children.”
To lessen the anxiety of the beneficiaries, SWAPNO came up with a hygiene kit containing soaps and masks along with the demonstration session of using them.
“After some days, suddenly we got to know that we will get soaps and masks from SWAPNO project. I was so happy to hear this. We not only received the soaps and masks but also got the guideline and demonstration of using those properly. We learnt that we have to wash our hands for 20 seconds minimum before and after cooking, consuming food and using washroom. We have to maintain social distance. We should not share our masks with each other. Seeing the hand washing demonstration, I decided to share my learning with my family and community people. They also became aware and started to follow the rules.” As public works program was stopped suddenly, Rashida had no money to buy food for her family. “I was in dire need of money. My children were starving. At that time, SWAPNO helped me again. I received BDT 1500 as cash support from SWAPNO which helped me a lot.”
But this is not the end of support. SWAPNO again came up with another outstanding aid which is – Food package.
“One day, we were told to go at Union Parishad office to receive food package. Next day, I went to the office and saw that everyone is receiving a big packet containing 12 kg rice, 6 kg flour, 2 kg lentil, 2 kg potato, 1 kg puffed rice, 1 kg salt, 1 kg sugar, 1 litre soyabean oil and 2 soaps. I also received this food package. This is beyond my expectation. With this food package, I can meet the demand of my family easily. When we first heard about Coronavirus, we were scared and worried about our future. But SWAPNO gave us tremendous support which we could ever imagine. I am truly grateful to UNDP and SWAPNO for supporting us during this crisis period” – She said with a smile.
Rashida now hopes to see a better future ahead. From having a directionless life to a balanced life – Rashida proves that she is not worthless and can be a valuable person for her family and community.