The Story of Shuely: From feeling like a burden to mentoring others in need

“I am far away from my family, but I am now able to help them.”

Being the eldest daughter in my family, it made me frustrated that I could not help my family members when they faced problems. At first they did not support me moving to Dhaka, but I went there anyway because I knew I had to do something. Ever since I was a child people always tried to avoid me, and my relatives always treated me differently than others, and so I always felt like a burden.

I was looking for job opportunities for three months in Dhaka, but was unable to find anything and so, with my savings spent, I headed back to Khulna. Shortly after returning, I received a call back from the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed and I was straight back on a bus to Savar to enrol in a sewing machine operator’s course for underprivileged women and persons with disabilities.

I have finished my apprenticeship and I am now a skilled worker with nationally-recognised qualifications. I am also a mentor to other young apprentices as they finish the same course that I graduated from. It is mainly thanks to the Bangladesh-ILO’s (International Labour Organization) technical and vocational education and training reform that I was trained and could secure employment.

Now my father visits me monthly, and he can see first-hand that even with my disability I am doing work and earning money. And despite the fact that I am far away from my family, I am now able to help them. For instance, my younger sister is in class eight and I have told her already that I am going to bear her education costs. Families are not conscious about what they should do for their children if they have a disability; they underestimate their potential and they try to hide them from the rest of society. I have proved them wrong.

Learn more about Bangladesh’s skills development policy and practices that are improving access to vocational education and training as well as employment for persons with disabilities.