Hasina, Masina and Dholi, three differently-abled sisters, live in Badiachara village in Shibganj upazila of Bogura. They begged for a living for a long time, and sometimes worked as housemaids at the homes of affluent people.
Since their parents' death a few years after the youngest sister Dholi was born, the three of them have been struggling to survive. All of them are now in their 50s and live at their parent's house.
Two of them were married but their fate remained unchanged. The eldest sister, Hasina, was divorced and went back to her parent's home with her children. Dholi was widowed nine years back and also went back to her parent's home.
Hasina is visually impaired and physically unfit because of old age complications. Masina became handicapped after going senseless while begging, and Dholi's toenail was ripped off in an accident.
However, their fate has now changed after the Bogura Police's Nari Kallyan Samity (Punak) gave them a grocery shop filled with items for them to sell.
Punak learnt that the three old women had been living on Khichuri (a dish cooked with rice and lentils), for the last 15 years because they could not get any other type of food from begging.
It was a voluntary organisation named "Jago Bogura" that drew the attention of Superintendent Ali Ashraf Bhuiyan of the Bogura Police to the misery of the aged and differently-abled women. He took an initiative and asked Punak to help them so that the three sisters can become self-reliant.
Then on February 1 this year, Superintendent Ali Ashraf Bhuiyan, on behalf of Punak, presented the shop and its grocery items to the three destitute women so that they can earn their own living.
Jago Bogura president Atik Rahman said, "For a long time I used to see an old woman begging at the Mokamganj Bus Stand in Shibganj upazila. When I inquired about her, I learnt that she and her two sisters are leading miserable lives.
Now they earn a living through the shop.
Abdus Samad, one of their neighbours, said, "We are very happy to see the changes in the lives of the three sisters. I have seen them begging ever since my boyhood. The police have given them a shop, so they don't have to beg any more. It's a good initiative."
The eldest sister, Hasina, has thanked Punak for the gift. She believes the coming days will be smoother now.
Masina, recalling her previous misery, said she had been begging to survive for 40 years. She fell unconscious on the road one day while begging, and some local people took her home. She has been handicapped since then. She is thankful that they have a shop, and will not have to beg anymore.
The youngest sister, Dholi, said, "If I had not taken care of my older sisters, how could they have done their daily work? They can't even take a bath without someone's help. Now we can earn a living from the shop."
"I plan to make the shop bigger from its earnings. If the local people cooperate with us, we will never have to beg again," she added in her colloquial language.
Punak President Romana Ashraf, wife of police super Ali Ashraf Bhuiyan, said Punak's slogan is "We always remain beside you". When we learnt about the three sisters' misery, we took an initiative to make a shop for them. We try to do our best for the destitute in society, especially during disasters. We want to help more destitute women.