Rehana and Sheuly saw the worst:they were the victims of acid attack. The incident has had lasting impressions in them. Together they form a national network with 258 more survivors across the country. ActionAid has stood by these women in their hard times – infusing strength, building a sisterhood, giving leadership trainings and, recently, life-skills.
Sheuly and Rehana troubleshooting PC hardware
ICT unit and the Acid Survivors Network (ASN) started by bringing in five of the survivors for a 24-day training on computer operations, hardware troubleshooting and data entry. Two of these women stuck by the rigorous technical schemes, went back to their homes with computers given by ActionAid and started earning money right away.
Rehana Khatun (23), who lives in Gaibandha – 200+ kilometers away from the capital – says:
Soon after the training from ActionAid, I earned approx. 15,000 taka through a data entry job. Before this, I already managed to get money by copying music files to memory cards of cell phones in my locality. I am so happy now that I earn for myself. I think it is a great achievement in my life.
Sheuly Khatun (23) from Sirajgonj feels she is now ready to take on the world:
I didn’t have any idea about computers before. I feel much empowered to have the training. As computer technology is essential in this modern era, it will help me in many ways. Now I can earn money from IT-related business or any kind of official job. Truly, I feel a sense of financial independence. Never in my life did I feel so happy. I will educate my daughter in a good school.
We cheer for these brave women who give us their strengths, touch us with their unfailing will to stand against all the obstacles. We promise to work together and reach all 260 women in the network and gradually to more three thousand survivors across the country.
Following our advocacy work with the local administration in the districts that showed high ratio of such attacks, we persuaded the district-level Acid Control Committee to strengthen their monitoring on open-market acid sells, develop a roster on industrial acid users and stop sale of acid to individuals with no valid user license.
Our fight to stop violence against women continues.