A Troubled Young Life
Arifa is the 18-year old daughter of Amzad Hossain a labourer in Dorshona village, Rangpur. Her mother had died when she was young. When she was 13, her father married her off to Ripon Miah who demanded a dowry of 50,000Tk after the wedding had taken place. But Amzad could not afford this amount of money and Ripon and his family became angry. They began to beat Arifa, both physically and mentally, to force her to return to her father’s house.But Amzad had recently married again and his new wife refused to have Arifa in the house. When Arifa became pregnant she thought things would improve but instead they worsened. Instead of being a good father and husband, Ripon refused to get proper treatment for his baby daughter when she was contracted typhoid. That was when Arifa’s father reluctantly agreed she could return home, expecting Ripon to give him maintenance for Arifa. But Ripon’s family refused to pay and, instead, they went to Amzad’s house and abducted the baby. Desperate, Arifa went to Dorshona Federation for help but they failed in their attempts to retrieve her daughter. With help from RDRS, Arifa filed a case against her husband and with a court order was reunited with her baby. Because of poverty, things were still difficult at her father’s house and her stepmother resented her. Eventually, Arifa went to live at the RDRS Rehabilitation Centre. There, she received counselling, legal advice, literacy and numeracy education and skills-training in tailoring and block-printing; she was also safe and happy for the first time in her young life. Now she is earning 100-150Tk per day and not dependent on anyone.