Remittances Vs Women with Disability

Aysha Begum (pseudonym) lives in the Narsingdi district. She had polio in her childhood that caused disability on her left hand. During those days people had hardly any knowledge about ‘Disability’, they used to say ‘Lame or crippled’. Aysha is the 5th number child among her other 5 siblings. Her father was enough solvent, again she left behind her other siblings just because of her disability and the social context of that period. Her one brother is a doctor, one brother is a lawyer, one is a businessman, one sister is studying LLM and one sister got married after completing graduation. Only Aysha could not study more than the SSC level. At that period her marriage was arranged and she could not carry on her education. While she was studying in class X, a neighboring family proposed to her marriage with their son Julhas Mia (pseudonym). Julhas has just primary level education. He was running a small business in the village. At first, Aysha’s family was not agreed with their proposal. But Julhas’ family was grasping as well as affable to manage Aysha’s father for the marriage.

Aysha received very caring behavior from her relatives at her husband’s house. After her marriage, she came to know at first that her father made a commitment to bear all expenses to send her husband to Italy. Although she got upset to know he was been receiving a lot of love and respect from her father-in-law’s house from everybody, it made her very happy. So, she ignored the negative side and even she also reminded her brothers to arrange the money to send her husband to Italy. It took nearly 2 years to complete all procedures and reach Julhas in Italy. Aysha was the happiest woman in this world during received immense love and care from all members of her husband’s home these 2 years.

Now it’s passing 7 years since Aysha’s husband reached Italy. He called in total 12/13 times to Aysha from Italy by the first 5 months after his reaching there, but he never talked with a happy voice over the phone by saying an excuse that he did not have work permit in Italy. As a consequence, he was not getting a permanent and legal job. After 5 months he stopped all contact. Aysha waits day after day. A year went out. The behavior of her relative’s in-laws started to change, their care was lost totally and misbehavior reached an intolerable level. Aysha came back to her father’s house. She and her father’s family members could not contact a single time with Julhas since then. It’s already passed 7 years. Still, now Aysha believes that her husband will return one day and say sorry to her for the lost years. Through these years she got involved with awareness activities of persons with disabilities. She came to be introduced with Habiba (pseudonym) at one event in Dhaka. Habiba is short in her height. A very handsome young man married Habiba 11 years before. They had a lovely family living in the first 1 year. By this year she never heard a single insane word from her husband about her height. Habiba was the happiest one to receive such honor from her husband. Sometimes she got confused that her husband might be a saint not (a simple human being). Habiba’s husband Siraj (pseudonym) also went to Italy. And the expense was beard by her brothers and uncles. Siraj and his family never kept in contact with either Habiba or her brothers. Siraj’s family was negative-minded about Habiba from the beginning. Siraj used to say that he would earn a lot of money from Italy then his family would also accept Habiba as the daughter-in-law. But the reality was the opposite of his words. Siraj himself stopped all contact with her. Days and months took 10 years from her life, and Siraj never called her from Italy. After 7 years, Habiba’s uncle informed her and her family that Siraj came to the home for a few days and got second marriage.

There are lots of Aysha and Habiba’s stories that are being used to bear the expense of immigrant labor to other countries. Almost all husbands betray women with disabilities as soon as they reach foreign countries. They avoid saying the ‘dowry’ consciously, they say it ‘Expense for Immigration’. In some cases, their behavior is such an impression that the families who have a daughter with disabilities they cannot but get confused. The example: the bride-groom will live with a disability and she may not be able to do many household tasks, she may need a full-time maid to assist her, she may need an accessible washroom, etc., etc. which will make her life easier. So, the foreign remittance will bring some extra solvency to the family and will help the disabled bride mostly, so the husband needs to go developed country to earn huge money for the bride’s sake. The parents and other members of the family normally become confused to listen to this kind of explanation, they become the prey of the hunters easily. In this way, thousands of young men are immigrating and earning foreign remittances to Bangladesh.

Although the laborers are increasing remittances for the country but the backstage stories of many women with disability who becomes the poorer from poor. We have got examples that the amount which is been paid for the immigration expense for the disabled woman member’s marriage is considered as the share of her inheritance property i.e. been informed her later on. As a girl child with a disability, these women are not encouraged enough to receive an education like non-disabled other children. As a whole, these women with disability become impecunious in their lives.

The other side is the social aspect of their lives. These women are considered abandoned by their husbands, so the families and neighbors show disdain for them. The return of the husband is not confirmed, so the wife passes her life in to uncertainty. In this way situation most of the females never get married again, so they pass their lives as childless.

If there was the possibility to start life again, it would be much better to utilize the same amount of money for the proper education of the disabled daughter or sister of the family instead of giving the money to the groom as an immigration expense (indirect dowry). If Aysha or Habiba would be adequately educated to do a job at home with the inspiration of their family, they would have earned more amount in their lives than the remittances of Julhas or Siraj.

[This article was collected from her personal website‘s blog]

Jannatul Ferdous is a prominent writer, activist, filmmaker and voice for the excluded people. Experiencing disability in her personal life, Ivy chose her profession to promote the human rights of persons with disabilities, especially women with disabilities. She is at the forefront of advocating for equality, justice, and empowerment for women in the workplace through her films, write-ups, and human rights defender’s role.
No Comments