On Sept. 6, 1996, Biswanath was involved in a terrible road accident. His right leg was badly injured and he was taken to the hospital immediately. But his relatives didn’t rely on the expert doctors, and took him to a local herbal healer instead.
The herbal healer provided the wrong treatment and used unscientific ways to join the injured man’s thigh bones. Biswanath lost his ability to walk or run. Many years have passed since that devastating accident, but Biswanath still struggles to walk or stand for long.
After his accident, Biswanath lost all his expectations for life. He couldn’t find a job due to his weak leg. He married a woman named Sumi, and their only child, Sumonto, was born in 1999.
Biswanath struggled to provide for his family. He began to sell marijuana. The dark side of life grabbed him.
“I had no other option [but selling marijuana] to survive other than selling my land. I am a disabled man. My right leg is almost paralyzed. I can’t walk or stand for long. No one hired me for a job. But I had to survive with my family at any cost.”
Biswanath doesn’t like to talk about how he used to sell marijuana or how much he made because it still wasn’t enough to send his son to school. Biswanath did not want his son to become a marijuana seller like himself.
Mission schools are popular in Bangladesh. No or low tuition, good teachers, a nice environment and a free supply of books have made the mission schools popular among people in remote communities.
When the Compassion-assisted child development center opened at the local church, Biswanath and his wife saw it as nothing more than a Christian mission school. But it offered an opportunity for Sumonto to get a free education, and his parents grabbed it.
Over the last four years, Sumonto and his father have gotten to know the church as well as Compassion. Sumonto receives better educational opportunities through the center than he would through any other school in the community. He receives tutoring and all the educational materials (books, copies, pencils, etc.) he needs, including his school uniform, from the center.
Sumonto’s school fee is no longer a problem for his father as Compassion pays it regularly. Sumonto’s parents are grateful that the center even provides lunch for their son and takes care of all his medical needs. Sumonto also is learning biblical morals and Christian values.
Biswanath was happy for his son, but the bigger changes began to take place as the generosity of Sumonto’s sponsor grew.
Our church partners never hand over cash gift money to the families. Instead, they make purchases according to the need of the child and family. In Bangladesh, most families ask that domestic animals are purchased with the family gift money. Domestic animals are very useful because selling milk and eggs creates an opportunity for the family to earn extra money.
Biswanath requested the church staff buy them cows with their designated gift money. They bought six cows.
Every day Biswanath sells three liters of fresh milk and earns around $1.30. This little income is a great help for Biswanath. He quit selling marijuana. The center director advised — and rebuked — Biswanath several times about this illegal business. Through continuous counseling with the director, Biswanath changed his ways.
“I never imagined that my son would ever go to school and have an education. The church made it possible. My son is now receiving a good education, food and other benefits like other capable families in our village. The church, along with Compassion, is taking care of my son. Not only that, but because of the gift from Sumonto’s sponsor, we now have a way to earn for our family. This helped me to get rid of the worst business.”
Subsequently, the family sold three of their cows and bought a little piece of land where they started a small shop. Biswanath’s older brother is running that shop and gives a share to Biswanath. With the love and generosity of Sumonto’s sponsor, two families have benefited.
The shop sells herbal products (leafs, mixtures, oils, fruit skins, tree skins, etc.) and spices. Biswanath’s brother, who was previously unemployed, now earns a little that he can contribute to his family.
Sumonto’s mother, Sumi, says,
“These Christian people at the local church are very gentle. They are as concerned as we are for our son. My son learns to behave gently from the church. We believe whatever he learns at the center is good and fruitful. My husband and I have full faith in Compassion. We know that they will teach our child the right things and guide him to avoid the wrong. They helped and guided my husband to quit his dark business. I am grateful to them.”