Meet the Sheikhs – a family of 7 living in the Gawair slum in Dhaka. Surnames are a foreign concept to most of the slum-dwellers, so they choose a name they like most. This family’s chosen surname is definitely not aligned with their living conditions.
Their makeshift home consists of some sloppily laid bricks, a few sheets of metal for a roof and a bare Earth floor. The children sleep on the bed made of a plank of wood while the parents take to the floor. There is no electricity and the house is infested with mosquitoes and other bugs, day and night.
The land on which their humble home stands does not belong to the family. The landowner could order their home to be demolished at any time, no questions asked. The family lives there illegally. The meagre earnings their mother Morjina (30) makes in a garment factory and the father Delwar (40) as a day labourer are not enough to give them a better home.
Only 2 out of the Sheikh family 5 children go to school with the help of Maria Cristina Foundation. 2-year old Samija is too young for school, but her brothers Yasim (9) and Tarib (6) are not.
14-year old Bulbuli and 11-year old Jasmine are studying in 7th and 4th grade respectively. Bulbuli wants to be an army officer and Jasmine an optometrist. The girls are struggling to do their homework, though. The house is dark, there is no electricity, let alone a desk. They sit on the bed as they do their homework, squinting their eyes to see better in the dark.
The children suffer from flu and colds during the monsoon season. The broken roof and insufficient walls mean the whole family gets wet whenever it rains. The family is desperate to move to better accommodation, but they are reluctant to accept help from short-term sponsors as this means they might find themselves in debt. Renting a much more decent house in Gawair costs about $35 a month.
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help this family or make a donation online, marking Bulbuli and Jasmine’s family as a reference.