CSID’s field workers first identified Monsura when she was 13 years old. Monsura is blind, and was found begging on the traffic point of Old Thana Road, Mohammadpur, where she would go every day with her younger sister. Her father is a day labourer, but his income alone is not enough to support the six members of his family, and so Monsura was sent to the streets to beg. Responsibility of this kind meant that she was unable to spend time accessing education, or even playing with her friends and neighbours.
“I don’t like to beg on the street but I am bound to earn money for survival of the family”.
Monsura was very reluctant to talk to CSID’s project staff at first, and her family, who were very protective of her, also discouraged her from talking to the project staff. CSID invited her to attend the children’s group meetings at CSID’s office, but each time she would refuse to attend.
CSID staff continued to visit her, both on the streets and at home, motivating and counselling the family as well as Monsura. Gradually Monsura’s attitude changed, and she started to attend the meetings, with CSID paying compensation for any loss of income. Her parents also attended the meetings, observing what children do in the meetings, and what activities and facilities are on offer. After attending these meetings, both Monsura and her parents were convinced.
Monsura is now highly motivated and loves attending the meetings and various programmes on offer. She is able to enjoy the company of other disabled and non-disabled children like her, talking and playing with them. She has also been educated on her rights, and is very vocal at the different meetings and programmes she attends.
Monsura at a Children’s Self-Advocacy Group meeting
Monsura also loves to sing, and is part of the ‘Music and Theatre Group of Children with Disabilities’ developed by CSID, as well as being enrolled in CSID’s inclusive pre-school. She acts in the theatre, and has even sung on stage at the public library, participating in the ‘Theatre Festival of Children and Young People’, organised by People’s Theatre. Monsura was so happy and excited to be taking part. Her shyness has reduced, and her inferiority complex is gone. Instead she is talks happily about her future, expressing a wish that “one day I will find a boy to love, marry him and live a happy family life”.
Her attitude and understanding of her own situation has also changed, and she desperately wants to give up begging altogether, but the family’s extreme poverty and marginalisation currently doesn’t allow her to do so. CSID is therefore trying to find a way in which to withdraw her from begging, and bring her further in to mainstream society, leading a dignified live. The project staff is therefore working with her family to enable this, by providing them with support to find other ways to raise income, in the hope that Monsura can be free to focus on her own future.