Monday, October 8, 2012

Life is Promising for Toma

Life is Promising for Toma
Staff Correspondent
Photo: Rashed Shumon
Although she grew up in a different environment from other children of the society, her spirit and struggle seem to make her a role model for the orphan and vulnerable children to secure a dignified position in society.
The 21-year-old girl Toma Roy, who was found at capital Dhaka's Sadarghat Launch Terminal in 1998 by child rights activists, has now become self-reliant and dreams of achieving an aristocratic status in further life through her skill, merit and hard work.
"Once, I was very afraid of my life thinking myself alone in the world. But now I am very much happy with my life," said Toma, who works as a supervisor in a business centre of Aparajeyo Bangladesh, a non-government organisation working for disadvantaged children.
She spent fourteen years of her life under supervision of Aparajeyo Bangladesh that provided her accommodation, food, education, mental counselling and other basic services, above all it has changed her life.
When she was found, she could not remember her parents or other family members, even could not tell how she came to Sadarghat. Till now, she knows nothing about her identity, and only can remember that she hailed from a Hindu family.
Photo: Rashed Shumon
"From Sardarghat they (officials of Aparajeyo Bangladesh) took me to Boys and Girls Club at Motijheel of Aparajeyo Bangladesh where I stayed for one year. Later, I was transferred to a Drop-In Centre of the same organisation at Farmgate where I stayed for around 13 years," said Toma.
"I never felt isolated or lonely there. There were many children like me. They gave me motivational counselling to remove my mental sufferings. I thought they were like my family members," she said.
"Whenever I became mentally upset and cried, they took me to Shishu Park (children's park) or other places to make me happy," she said.
Toma has completed her Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC). She now waits to enrol in graduation course.
"I never felt isolated or lonely. There were many children like me. They gave me motivational counselling to remove my mental sufferings. They were like my family members."
She also hopes to establish a care centre for orphan or vulnerable children, if she would have enough money in future.
"I would like to urge all the orphan and vulnerable children not to give up hope in face of many challenges. Everyone should keep up their spirit, courage and vision in his or her mind to go forward," said Toma.
Talking to The Daily Star, Aparajeyo Bangladesh Executive Director Wahida Banu said they are working to protect the rights of disadvantaged children so that they can grow up with full potentials.

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