I thought she was incredible.
She thought her husband was.
The conversation which ensued with this woman was pretty stellar, about how a single person can, if given the right encouraging environment, do so much to change things around her. This lady is indubitably one of my heroes, one of the million unsung ones I met during a life changing trip across Bangladesh’s Khulna region in 2013.
“My husband helps me with my work,” she told me.
“What do you do?”
“I have been counseling young girls to say no to child marriage for years.”
“How many have you stopped?”
“23 so far.”
“And how has your husband helped?”
“He cuts up the vegetables and looks after our only grandchild while I make my rounds counseling pregnant ladies in the community about good nutritional standards, or during the hours that my daughter teaches at the local school.”
“How did you get into this line of work?”
“I was 13 when I was married off to my husband. I lost two children because I hemorrhaged during my pregnancies and lost my children before I was 18. Stopping child marriages was my destiny. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my husband’s support.”
Spotted in Shatkhira in the Sunderbans during a field research visit to investigate nutritional interventions and sex education amongst children living in the Khulna region of Bangladesh.