A Strong Role Model for her Daughters

Date: Thursday, August 13, 2020

Bobita Rani with her two children. Photo: Mr. Shyamol Sutradhar

I am Bobita Rani Bormon and am a 32-year-old single mother with two daughters. I live in Savar, an area about 25 kilometers away from Dhaka city. I have been working for a readymade garment (RMG) factory, as a senior operator for six months and before that I worked with another RMG factory for two years.

I got married at the age of 19 when I fell in love with my husband.  After our marriage, my husband was very reluctant to maintain the family expenses and did not take care of our family. My parents and mother-in-law supported my daily expenses and helped feed my children.  My husband remarried three years ago and does not live with us anymore.

I returned to my parents’ house when my husband remarried and left us behind without any financial support. At this point when my father died,  we were left with no way to run family of four women with two young children.  That is when I decided to join an RMG factory as a helper.

Now, my oldest daughter is ten years old and studies ina local non-government school run by a NGO, and my youngest daughter is three years old. My older daughter looks after her younger sister and manages household when I go to work.  During the general holiday announced by the Government of Bangladesh, my life became more difficult as the factory shut down and was sold to another owner. Buyers had cancelled their orders at the last moment and the factory was unable to provide workers with their salaries.  We only received half of our salary and I did not complain due to the fear of losing my job. I was surviving on the money my mother in law sends for me from her income. 

I fell sick after returning to work. There were several preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 imposed by the factory owners, such as wearing masks during work, washing hands before entering the factory and measuring body temperature for signs of fever. Despite of the measures taken by the factory owners I fell sick within a few days of returning to work. I got fever, diarrhea, my legs were swollen, and I completely lost my appetite. I was worried whether my daughters would also get infected and tried to keep myself isolated at one corner of the room. Fortunately, my fever subsided in five days and other symptoms disappeared gradually as well. I took all kinds of home remedies, drank a lot of water and ate fresh fruits. I could not afford to visit a doctor to get tested for COVID-19 and the factory doctors were also not available because of the change in the factory management. 

Although I was very weak, I decided to go back to work as soon as the factory reopened. I was grateful to them for at least providing half of my salary during the months of March and April and helping me survive this crisis till now. The factory conducts a temperature test every day when workers enter the factory and it helps us feel that we might be safe.  Although sometimes, I do feel like taking a leave and getting some rest, that is not an option for now.   Enjoying the privilege of leave to have a good rest, even when we fall ill is no less than a luxury for people like us.

My only concern right now is that I save my job as I must feed both my daughters and ensure their education.  My dream is to provide proper education to them so that they can have a good job and lead their lives with dignity and respect.