Mamun Sheikh had been a popular and bright student in his village of Bohorpur in Rajbari district, Bangladesh. Like many boys his age, he dreamed of playing football for his country. Then, at the age of 13, he contracted a muscle-wasting disease.
‘Gradually the lower part of my body paralysed,’ describes Mamun. ‘I could not walk and stopped going to school. Most of the time, I lay down on the bed and felt useless.’ Seeing his father and two brothers work hard all day as labourers and not being able to help hit Mamun hard. ‘My family suffered financially because of my disability. I became a burden,’ reflects Mamun. ‘Many times, I cried and attempted to commit suicide, but I couldn’t. I became hopeless and had no dream in my life.’
Setting up shop
Thankfully for Mamun, Tearfund partner Baptist Aid visited his village and spotted him lying under a tree. Baptist Aid arranged with the Ward Disaster Management Committee (WDMC) for Mamun to attend livelihood training. The WDMC also donated £20 – which Mamun’s father matched – for Mamun to set up a grocery shop. Mamun made £15 profit in the first month. One of Mamun’s proudest moments was handing over this profit to his father. ‘I feel proud by doing something and supporting my family,’ says Mamun. ‘I am so grateful to Baptist Aid and WDMC. They gave me new life and a new hope.’
Pass it on
Now Mamun is passing this blessing on. ‘I encourage my disabled younger sister to assist me in my shop so that she can increase her skills,’ explains Mamun. ‘I also attend WDMC meetings and encourage other disabled people. My dream is that all disabled people in my community are no more burdens.’
Give thanks for the success of Mamun’s business and the positive impact this is having on his family.
Ask that God would bring a change in attitude towards people with disabilities in Bangladesh.
Give thanks to the work of Baptist Aid and pray that they would continue to bring life and hope to many more people with disabilities.