Beyond the Slum: Nisha’s Journey

Nisha is a 13-year-old girl living in the Chalantika slum. She attends Class V at the Islamia Government Primary School. Her life is a tapestry woven with threads of poverty, addiction and the unwavering love of a single mother.


Nisha’s father, once a hardworking man, had fallen into the clutches of drug addiction. The once-bright spark in his eyes had been extinguished, replaced by a dull, vacant stare. His addiction was eating away not only at his health but also at his family’s meagre income.


“I miss my father’s love and affection. He used to take care of me a lot before he became addicted to drugs. I’m worried and afraid of my father,” said Nisha.


The burden of supporting the family now fell solely on Nisha’s mother, Salina. She worked tirelessly as a street vendor, selling snacks to earn a meagre living. Despite the long hours and meagre earnings, Nisha’s mother never complained. Her love for her daughter and her determination to give her a better life knew no bounds.


“I cook food in my house and sell it on the street. I earn a small amount of money, but it’s not enough to provide three meals a day. I can’t afford to send my daughter Nisha to school. ADRA Bangladesh’s Chalantika Slum Children Development Project (CSCDP) centre has eased my burden by enrolling my daughter in their school. Now, she is studying in the Islamia Government Primary School with the support of CSCDP. Nisha gets all the necessary support from the CSCDP centre. She gets school uniforms, books, pens, notebooks, shoes and nutritious meals,” said Nisha’s mother Salina.


As the sun set each evening, Nisha would accompany her mother to help her close her stall. While her mother toiled away, Nisha would sit on the sidelines, her young eyes absorbing the harsh realities of life. She saw the desperation in the eyes of other slum dwellers, the struggle to survive in a world that seemed to have forgotten them.


At nightfall, Nisha and her mother would return to their shanty, a tiny space that served as their home. The walls were bare, the floor dirt. But despite the squalor, it was a place filled with love and resilience.


As Nisha lay in her bed listening to her father’s incoherent mumbling, a mixture of sadness and anger washed over her. She longed for a normal childhood, free from the burden of addiction and poverty. But she knew that, for now, her reality was far from that.


“I want to be a doctor in the future. So I want to study more. But I’m not sure if I can finish my studies and fulfil my dream or not. I really like the CSCDP centre. I have learnt a lot from the CSCDP centre. I have learnt how to take care of myself and my family. I have learnt the need for education,” said Nisha with eyes full of fear.

Nisha’s determination grew stronger with each passing day. She never gave up her dream of escaping the slum and building a better life for herself and her mother.

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