There was a time when Shadia was afraid every time she left the house. "I would always cover my head and stand in the corner," she recalled. Shadia's life is now quite the opposite. Since becoming a BRAC Community Health Promoter (CHP), Shadia says, "Things are different than they were before. I am much more confident."
Shadia's transformation began eight years ago. Her youngest daughter was suddenly struck blind and Shadia did not know how to take care of her. "I didn't know where to take her. I visited so many doctors and no one could help." In response to this situation, and despite the fact that she had never received an education, Shadia dedicated herself becoming a CHP.
Today, Shadia is a highly competent CHP. "I am always busy," she remarked. "I visit fifteen homes every day. I find out who is pregnant, who is taking pills, and who is getting injections. If I find someone who has been coughing for 3 weeks, I tell them to get tested for TB. This is my work."
When Shadia first established herself as the community health volunteer, people treated her with respect and admiration for the first time in her life. Previously known as one of the quieter members of her community, she had become accustomed to being ignored by her neighbors. Now she is seen as one of the most important people in her village. "Everyone in the village knows I am a CHP," she said. "If someone becomes sick, everyone tells them to come to my house."
The respect Shadia receives from her peers motivates her to work harder. She does not rest until she knows that every person has received the support they need. Shadia sees it as her duty to do all she can to take care of the community she loves. "I want to work for these people. I'm not very beautiful, I don't have that much money, but still people look for me. That's why whenever they call for me, I will always go."
Shadia is proud of how far she has come since starting her work as a health volunteer. "Before, when a visitor would come, even if they were BRAC officers, I would shake with nerves," she said: "Now I have become courageous; now I stand confidently."
Story from BRAC.