Rehana
Rehana gets very emotional when she recalls what it was like before she joined Samrat and was forced to beg relatives for money. It was especially difficult, she says, because “God may know everything about us and our lives, but I was ashamed to show my position to others.”
  Rehana is a 38-year-old wife and mother of 4. She is a domestic worker by trade, but is well respected among her neighbors for the work she does going door-to-door teaching women the Koran. While neither she nor her husband has any formal education, their children are all in school, and she has high hopes for their future.

Rehana leaned the importance of saving the hard way. Twelve years ago, her mother passed away and it became her responsibility to care for the entire family. She desperately needed money and did not know what to do. Though it was hard for her, she asked her brother for some money to tide her over. She had never asked him for help before and was devastated and humiliated when he refused. Somehow she managed, but more trouble was to come. There was a bad time in her marriage when her husband left her on her own with no money and no food. Rehana gets very emotional when she recalls what it was like before she joined Samrat and was forced to beg relatives for money. It was especially difficult, she says, because “God may know everything about us and our lives, but I was ashamed to show my position to others.”

Rehana knew she would have to start saving her own earnings so that she would never have to beg for a loan again. When she heard about the Thrift and Credit program from the staff at Hope, she decided to give it a try. Her neighbors were suspicious of Samrat at first but Rehana had faith it would all work out in the end because, she decided, “they can take my money, but they can’t take my luck!”

Rehana says she has hidden her membership in Samrat from her husband out of respect for him. He would not be happy if he knew that she has more money than he does, and she is afraid of the abuse she might have to suffer. Still, she is determined to make both their lives better. So far, the money she has saved and the loans she has taken have helped her finance construction on their home and pay for their daughter’s marriage. Rehana’s husband knows the Hope Project and does not mind her leaving their home to come here. She says she would not be able to get out of the house to attend meetings if they were held anywhere else.

Just getting out of the house and having the opportunity to meet and talk with other women has made a big difference in her life. Rehana says that she gets ideas from fellow Samrat members that help her manage the issues in her own life. When she’s with the other women, she says, she is able to forget her own problems for a little while.

Rehana’s husband is a rickshaw driver, and rents the vehicle he drives for a high daily price. After she pays off her current loans, she is saving her money so that one day she will be able to buy her husband his own rickshaw. She dreams of a time when her children will have good jobs and her husband will have a steady income. She is determined to make her dreams come true, even if she has to do it on her own.
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