Photo location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
We woke up in terror after the roof of our house was swept away, and moments later we were chest deep in rising waters. The water came in so quickly and it got so high it almost reached the ceiling of our house. Our house and all of our land were washed away. My parents jumped into the water to try to save the cattle but could not. We lost everything in the cyclone. We escaped with just our lives from there seven years ago.
There were between 100 and 150 families along the riverbank. All their homes were washed away just like ours. We lost everything. We lost our boats, our cattle, and our land was flooded with salt water. All the land is under water now. We had to move very quickly and we couldn’t take anything except the clothes we were wearing. We were left with nothing just like refugees. Today, boats pass over the place where our land was; where I spent all my childhood like a dream.
I started my job as a sex worker seven years ago here in Dhaka city, when my mother committed suicide for the unbearable pain and my father fled leaving me to look after my four siblings. My little sisters and brothers don’t know what I do till midnight. Sometimes it’s very hard to explain to them why I can’t return at night to them. But this is the only job I could find that would allow me to feed my family. They wait the whole night for me so that I am there to hold them besides me while we all sleep. My only aim now is to feed my siblings and give them a better life. Seeing them going to school everyday fills me with a lot of pride. I can take care of them till the evening, after that they take care of each other.
I have been pregnant several times and have had to have abortions. I always prayed to God, “Please don’t allow this pain to happen to even my worst enemy”.