#HumansCare | Claiming our Place in Society, Ayna’s Story
Ayna Moti lives near Dhaka, Bangladesh and cares for her teenage grandson who has cerebral palsy. Shuvo was left with her when his father’s family could not accept his disability and his mother was forced to leave him with his grandmother. This is no small commitment for Ayna who is 60 years old, as Shuvo is fully dependent on her. She has also had to face stigma and isolation from her family and the community because of her dedication to Shuvo. Caring has taken its toll on her physical health and she has been living with constant knee and back pain.
“Life became very difficult. But I learned to understand after coming to CDD's carers project, that life is very beautiful. If we want, we can live well.”
How Ayna received support
Ayna became involved in our carers’ project with our local charity partner Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) when it began and quickly became an active member of her local newly formed carers group. Nearly two years on, she is the group’s treasurer and takes responsibility for encouraging other carers to attend and for facilitating the meetings’ proceedings. She describes the other group members as her friends and they in turn look out for her and Shuvo. A network of peers like this is vital when a carer does not have the support of other family members.
“If I can run with my grandson, he will be able to walk…”
Ayna has also received medical treatment for her joint problems via the project’s health camps. She will now have access to ongoing medication and intervention as needed from the local government hospital, whose doctors have been trained as part of the project. “I was in fear of going out before but now I can move outside whenever I need to. The carers project thinks of our needs before we have even thought of them ourselves,” said Ayna.
Rebuilding a life with Shuvo
Ayna has not been able to earn an income while caring for Shuvo and as she gets older, her options become even more limited. CDD staff recognised that Ayna was more than capable and very motivated to be involved in the project’s livelihoods offer, so she attended training on poultry rearing and was given five hens. After three months, she had earned enough through selling eggs to buy fifteen more hens, and now she has added goats to her smallholding. She is earning 3,000 Bangladeshi taka a month, enough to ensure she and her grandson can live comfortably. She is also involving Shuvo in the care of the animals so that he can learn the skills and start to contribute to their joint income.
“Now I see that the two of us are not a burden on society. We can also give back to society, and society is starting to realise that. The carers project has given me courage and that courage means I can support Shuvo for his future. Everything I do now will help him. If I can run with my grandson, my grandson will be able to walk.”
Read our other #Humanscare stories from Bangladesh: