Step of Hope

Nadiya, Dina, Brishty, Sumaiya, Maria, Khadiza, Tumpa, Maya, Farzana, Nuru Nahar, and — they all reside in Begunbari slum in Dhaka. All of them are aged between 10 and 18 years. While some of them are studying and working, many of them have dropped out of school. Like other dwellers of the Begunbari slum, they all belong to either lower class or lower-middle-class families. There are over 1500 families living in that slum and most of them are day laborers, factory and garment workers, housemaids, or small-scale entrepreneurs like tea stall owners. During the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in Bangladesh, these girls have been learning the craft of hand-painting on clothes for the past 3 months. As their schools are closed, they have invested this time in pursuing a creative passion. They are very happy about it and also often express their gratitude towards their teacher, Shahana. They are also very hopeful about it. During the initial training period, they drew pictures and designs and then colored them, filling in designs where necessary. After they were past that phrase, each of them has completed a hand-painted Orna (shawl-like scarf). It took 2/4 days for them to complete their first creation and they are hopeful that they can do it in lesser time in the near future. Their family members are also very content with this achievement. They want to teach this craft to other people as well. They dream of doing big in life with this skill. They are hopeful that this skill will help them break the chain of poverty. It will also aid their confidence, help in their cognitive development, and help empower them. In this third-world developing country where women empowerment is a necessity, 10 girls pursuing their passion in crafts to build towards a better future ignite the fire of inspiration among numerous others who dream big and have the intent to transform their dream into a better reality.