Former Child Bride Finds New Hope and a Fresh Start

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Parvin Akter enjoys her new job helping people at a Smiling Sun clinic in Cox’s Bazar.
USAID's Bangladesh Counter Trafficking in Persons Activity

Parvin Akter was born in 2002 into a poor family in Cox’s Bazar.  By the time she was three years old, her parents had divorced.  Pressured by poverty, Parvin’s mother sold her to a couple with two other daughters.  Parvin was studious and disciplined, but economic hardship ended her education in class five.  As she grew older and more independent, her foster father started abusing her mentally, treating her as a second-class family member, blaming her for their economic difficulties, and dehumanizing her.  Eventually, he decided to marry her off to a man from Kazi Para, a village in Cox’s Bazar, in May 2017, when she was just 15.  The marriage was never registered.

Parvin’s husband abused her physically and mentally and abandoned her two years later.  Alone and without support, Parvin was in despair when she met Johura Khatun, a trafficking-in persons survivor working as a social worker, who told her about the USAID Bangladesh Counter Trafficking in Persons (BC/TIP) Activity, implemented by Winrock International.  Johura put Parvin in touch with Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), a non-governmental organization that supports vulnerable people like Parvin through shelter homes.   

Traumatized, she arrived at the YPSA shelter in October 2019, where she received food, clothing, healthcare, and psychological counseling support.  She also benefited from training that changed her attitude towards life, boosted her confidence and gave hope for a new beginning. 

After staff members from USAID BC/TIP activity and YPSA discovered her vocational aptitude and interests, they helped Parvin enroll in a two-month nursing and healthcare training program at a USAID-supported Smiling Sun Clinic.  In June 2020, she landed a job as a nursing assistant at the Union Hospital private clinic in Cox’s Bazar and now receives a salary allowing her to be self-reliant.

“I have started my new journey to build a beautiful life, which I couldn’t imagine before,” says Parvin. “Now I have the opportunity to build my life as I have dreamed of. I am very much grateful to BC/TIP program, YPSA, USAID, and Winrock for giving me this opportunity.” 

Through six shelter-homes in different districts of Bangladesh, and three safe spaces in Cox’s Bazar, USAID, through its Counter Trafficking-in-Persons activity partners, provides safe accommodation, legal aid, health support, psychosocial counseling, and livelihood-skills support to child brides and victims of trafficking.  Between August 2018 and June 2020, 304 child-marriage victims received support in these shelter homes, and 2,800 human-trafficking survivors, between 2014 and March 2020, got hope for a better life.

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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