“At the beginning of the pandemic, I realized that Daddy was very unhappy and didn’t smile like before,” 10-year-old Srabonti says. “Mommy didn’t smile much either and used to spend her spare time talking to Daddy in sign language.”
Srabonti’s father, Khokon, was unable to work during quarantine. Born nonverbal, he used to greet her with a big smile and the sign for “smile.” But this year, his smile turned to anxiety as food began running out and the landlord demanded overdue rent.
Khokon couldn’t see a way out of their desperate situation, and the inflation of the price of vegetables made it worse. Even their relatives had begun ignoring them, anticipating the family’s plea for help. Their only consolation during the pandemic was when Compassion’s local partners at the child development center would contact them to keep track of their situation.
One day, Srabonti heard a knock on the door. It didn’t sound like the knock that her brothers or father made. To her surprise, it was Lima, her tutor from the child development center! Srabonti could tell she had a big smile behind her mask. Usually, Srabonti would have flung her arms around Lima, but remembering what she had been taught about social distancing, she shouted, “Hi, Miss!” Lima had a big surprise for Srabonti: a food parcel containing rice, lentils, potatoes, soybean oil and toiletries. It was a lifeline for the family that boosted their spirits in the middle of calamity.
“When I first received the food, I was very happy that now my Mommy and Daddy would smile again,” Srabonti says.