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ImpactGirls & Women

Changing Mothers' Lives

©2014 World Vision, Lipy Mary Rodrigues

A global citizen from Bangladesh shares how she is changing her community, and helping to save mothers' lives, from within in this post originally published on Beyond 5. To view the full article click here.

From the Diary of Sultana Razia, edited by Lipy Mary Rodrigues and Zoey Wilson.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to share with you the story of Sultana Razia, a mother and an advocate of change, serving her community to reduce maternal and child death. She has been involved with World Vision since 2010 and now advises the community’s citizens on health-related issues. Her varied experiences of the journey are depicted in this post. 

“I am Sultana Razia, a woman of Joyda village at Muktagacha Upazila in Bangladesh, where 43.2 percent of children are malnourished.”

As an advocate for change around health related issues in her village, Sultana plays a prominent role. She educates community members about caring for new mothers and babies, advocates for children when child marriage is being considered, and works with community members to confront corrupt government systems when necessary. She has partnered with World Vision since 2010 and works to reduce maternal and child mortality.

Sultana consults with expecting and new mothers and their families to give the people in her community their best shot at a healthy life. She explains, “Moreover, I emphasize breastfeeding, umbilical care, balanced diet of child and mother, [and] proper sanitation and hygiene during my daily conversation[s] with the community people.”

One of her biggest successes as a health advocate has been the practice of safe delivery with trained birth attendants. “Now, almost 90 mothers out of 100 are having their delivery at Government Health Complex or with the trained birth attendants at home. World Vision has trained those women who were involved with the traditional way of delivery.” Now the community members see the value in trained birth attendants and feel safe knowing they are getting the care they need.

Sultana has had to find ways to combat child marriage, the stigma of working with people of different classes, the lack of reliable and consistent doctors, and corruption.

She shares, “Our Government does supply the latrine for the community people but the local leaders do not distribute those in proper way. Most of the times, the relatives of the local leaders are getting those latrines twice but the vulnerable people… remain out of reach from the facility.” All of these challenges she explains ends up hurting the community.

“I know our country’s situation is hundred times more vulnerable than the Western counties like USA. In my country there is poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, and also corruption that hinders us towards prosperity.”

Sultana feels she is here for a reason. “It is not only a job to me. My advocacy work—my service—has become my passion, a dream to me. When I visit door-to-door and find my children are in good health as their mothers are taking good care of them, I feel really proud of my work.”

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen.