My name is Abdul Gafur and I live in Gaibandha. I am 50 years old.
Photographer: Wahid Adnan/Drik, Bangladesh
One day I was driving a cart and I had an accident. The cart turned upside down, and I tried to pull it back to its right position. I was hurt severely on my back and after that my problem started. I tried many treatments in many of the hospitals and clinics but my condition did not change.
Before the accident I had a normal life. I was involved with many livelihoods: like business, part ownership in shops, also some dealerships, so there were many options that I had for making money.
After the accident, I tried to take treatment at hospitals and they provided me with a stick to walk. I tried to walk but I was so weak that I could not walk. My life totally changed because I lost all the opportunity to continue with earning a living. There was nothing I could do. I felt very bad at that time, as I was always a working man, so it was very disappointing for me to sit idle. And neighbourhood people would mistreat me – they would not mix with me.
At that time I lived with my in-laws, and had to spend a lot of money for treatment which resulted in nothing. I was really financially constrained. Then my father-in-law died and our condition worsened.
I moved around on a small trolley. I had learned to make these woven goods; I had taught myself by watching other people making them. I used the trolley to go to sell the goods and my son used to help me. A person from the local organisation GUK met me on the street and invited me to the office. The organisation supported me well. They provided me with a tricycle which is much better for moving around—it lets me visit people and take food for my cows and feed them myself. I can move very far and my son can go to school instead of pushing my trolley. I don’t like to sit idle; I always want to do something. I have to work because I have to run the family. As my son is studying in class 4, I need money to support his education.
I am a member of a self-help group comprising twenty-five persons. We meet every month and we discuss the problems the members face sometimes and work out how to resolve problems. We also save money, each of the members. The savings of the group are used for loans within the group—any group member can request to take a loan and pay it back. All group members received a loan from GUK for different purposes. We are all doing quite well now.