Maya Rani is more than 80 years old, living a life of struggle. She has aged but remains a pillar of strength through every hardship she faced. She has lived through difficult times and has pulled through this far. She says with a heavy sigh “I have seen many hardships in my life. I don’t think it ever really ends.”
Maya Rani recounts her whole life as though she can see it pass right in front of her eyes. She remembers becoming orphaned at a very young age, living with her maternal uncle. Married off young as was the norm back in her days, she left her village for a new life. It was not all bad when it started. Ever since her marriage, she has lived here in the village of Brahmongaon, Kaliganj, Gazipur. Her husband owned considerable land, but when he passed away, he left her alone to care for their seven children.
Being able to finish up to class 7 in school, Maya Rani was qualified enough to work for the government’s family planning interventions at her village. Things soon began to fall apart as the liberation war began. When it ended, the chaos that followed left her in ruins with barely anything left but the small square piece of land on which she lived.
Now, decades later, when her children have all grown up, she continues to struggle to live every day. She doesn’t know where her next meal will come from. Her son provides little to no support to her and her daughter is also estranged. She lives in a mud house with no windows to let fresh air and light into the house. A patchwork on her roof leaves marks of storms in the past. Cracks in the walls are proof of the long years the house has withstood.
At this age, all she needs is just a little place of comfort. She sits in her new house, and thanks to the Abinta Kabir Foundation and Habitat Bangladesh for giving her a house that is open and airy, and allows not just comfort to her physical body but to her aching soul. Her son is more attentive to her needs, perhaps not to the extent one would expect but yet it’s a start.