18 Promises Main

Can you keep 18 promises?

Keeping promises can be hard.

But these promises save lives.

Maaryam* was newly married and had moved in with her new husband and in-laws. Then the physical abuse started.

When they realized that Maaryam was unable to bear children, the abuse worsened. She remembers the entire village calling her names and continually disrespecting her. When things were at their worst, she found the courage to do the unthinkable and leave her in-laws home. Her husband chose to stand by her and come along. Though culturally discouraged, they moved elsewhere on their village and tried to make it on their own. This is when she found BRAC.

Through BRAC she discovered the 18 promises. These can sound simple, but they change lives, and include:

“We will send all our children to school”
“We will adopt family planning”
“We will treat our boys and girls equally”
“We will always drink clean water.”

Through these promises, women have become pioneers sparking great changes.

18 Promises 01

Maaryam had managed to escape a horrible situation and bravely started from scratch. She successfully managed to get herself and her husband on their own feet, but her road to a better life did not stop there.

Through BRAC she became a health volunteer. She trained in veterinary skills, midwifery, infant care, sanitation, and curable disease detection and treatment.

18 Promises 02
Women have become pioneers sparking great changes.

In addition to raising her livestock for food and income, she dedicates her time to the health of her fellow villagers. She visits households four hours per day, six days a week: 176 households. The seventh day she travels to town to collect medicines to bring back and distribute. She regularly diagnoses and treats TB, a once common cause of death in her village. She teaches mothers a simple oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrhea, a condition that previously took the lives of over half the village’s babies.

When Maaryam speaks of the work, she completely lights up. She has truly found empowerment, confidence, and esteem.

18 Promises 03

She has delivered too many babies to count; at least seventy.

At a time and place when women had little say in the direction and quality of their lives, she dictated her own path and has become a heroine in her own time. She may have a dirt floor, just barely enough food to eat, and only a handful of possessions, but she is happy.

*not her real name

Based on an original report by BRAC volunteer, Alison Horton

Strong promises are for sharing. Pass them on. Thank you.

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