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Sanzida's Story, Bangladesh

Sanzida, standing on crutches outside her house

COVID-19: Voices from the field.

Sanzida, Bangladesh

Sanzida didn’t grow up in a world of opportunity. She built one.

“I believe togetherness is how we will overcome this situation.”

Sanzida shares her story with a calm confidence. A confidence in herself that she didn’t always have.

Born in rural Bangladesh, with a disability that meant she could only move around using her hands, Sanzida faced bullying and discrimination from an early age. Nevertheless, her family rallied around her encouraging her to follow her dreams, go to school and have an education.

Joining a self-help group.

Her Grandmother heard of a local self-help group for disabled people, supported by ADD International, and took Sanzida along. Here she discovered a community of like-minded people all facing challenges of growing up with disabilities.

Thanks to the support of the group Sanzida’s self-esteem grew, “I faced difficulties in the past but my family gave me courage. Through working with ADD International, I have seen the attitudes of my community change. Now, I believe a different future is possible.”

Her time at the support group gave her skills necessary to become an advocate for her rights, and she managed to petition the local government for support and mobility equipment. Now, everything seemed possible.

Determined to follow her dreams.

Sanizda continued working hard at school and is now in her second year of a marketing degree and has big plans to apply for a prestigious government job, but like many students across the globe she is feeling the disruption caused by COVID-19.

In Bangladesh, though the government eased lockdown measures after two months, schools and universities have only just reopened. Poor internet connections and a lack of digital devices continue to deny many rural students, like Sanzida, access to education.

“Everyone has been affected. Financially and mentally. My father had to stop his work; my university closed down and we cannot afford to buy my books for a big exam I have. My life just suddenly stopped. There is so much uncertainty.”

Emergency Cash Support

ADD International’s COVID emergency repose gave Sanzida and her family 1,500 Bangladeshi taka in cash support. With this money she was able to buy her study materials, food and some basic medicine for her family.

The crisis is far from over, but Sanzida is not letting her optimism fade.

“I believe togetherness is how we will overcome this situation. Through this crisis ADD stands with us, and when we start to believe in ourselves and good things happen.”

Make a life saving gift today.

COVID-19 has been catastrophic for disabled people in Bangladesh. Can you help us support people like Sanzida to rebuild their lives?

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