Rubi arrived in Dinajpur following the Liberation War in 1971. She married at the age of 13 and experienced nine years of married life, before she became a widow. Soon after, she felt under pressure to remarry and fled her home in Gaibanda.
Life was tough raising two children as a single parent, however Rubi turned her hand to many things to put food on the table - working at the local rice mill factory, as a day labourer in construction and selling bangles door-to-door. As a woman in a man's worlds, she frequently received indecent verbal abuse from male co-workers.
Rubi has been resident of Jogen Babu Maath slum for 14 years, after hearing the government was providing land for the extreme poor. She now lives with her son and his wife, her daughter and grandson in a two storey bamboo and earth house which was built during phase 1 of the JBM upgrading project. She is no longer the sole income earner and contributes 50 - 70 BDT (£0.44 - £0.62) per day, by rolling poppadoms.
Although JBM has come a long way since 2010, with tree planting initiatives and building for safety training workshops, Rubi believes more needs to be done to improve lives. It's dense, unhygienic and they are experiencing ongoing difficulties with drainage and sanitation.
Rubi has big dreams for the community. She wants all her neighbours to live in a two storey house, so that they can have more space to breathe. She dreams of cleaner streets, improved education for the new generation, and increased employment opportunities so that people can better their own lives.
Rubi dreams of a day without poverty.
Inspired by Rubi’s story and want to improve living conditions in JBM slum? You can donate direct to the project.
Author: A. Roy