Anowara lives on a pristine island in rural Bangladesh, 360km from the capital Dhaka, surrounded by the Dudhkumar (the Milk River). Anowara traversed stormy waters for the first chapter of her life. Landless and impoverished, her family used to live on somebody else’s land.
Jamila’s life was literally shattered by the strokes of poverty, river erosion and disease. After marriage she started her new life at the bank of the river Bramhaputra (son of the creator). She gave birth to a daughter but happiness did not last long.
It was lean period, starvation was rampant. All edible leaf, vegetables and roots in the village exhausted. Bakron’s family went without food for the consecutive third day. The emaciated children of the family, two boys and two girls turned pale and frail.
Shabdi D’Costa was in her forties, barely surviving with her three daughters on her husband’s meagre Tk 1,800 (US $22) salary, when she took a principled decision that she would find a way out of poverty by taking charge of the family finances.
Ashikur Rahman (36) dreamed of going to abroad to work, but that dream ended badly when just over 4 years ago, he along with a friend paid Tk 200,000 to a recruiting agency. After a few months they learned that the agency had shut down and their money was lost.
Shyamola Begum, 43, knows why she lost her husband. Under the pressures of crippling poverty, with too many mouths to feed, he left their one room shanty in the capital one morning and never came back, she explains.