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The gift of a lifetime: Shukla’s story from Bangladesh

31 August 2023

Shukla lives with her son in southern Bangladesh. Her life is full of love. She loves her son. She loves watching him as he plays and helps her in their garden. She loves growing delicious fruits and vegetables, without the need for harmful chemicals. And she loves her job working in the office of a local school.

Shukla and her son in their garden in Bangladesh

Shukla and her son in their garden in Bangladesh

But Shukla’s life has not always been so bright and full of hope. After her husband’s death in 2018, she suffered from depression. As she coped with her loss, she also faced the challenge of how to provide food and a future for her son in a challenging climate.

Thankfully, Shukla was not alone. Friends and neighbours reached out to her with love, and encouraged her to join them in a local project, which had been supported by gifts people had left to CAFOD in their Wills. They had started meeting regularly to share knowledge of sustainable farming techniques that produce a plentiful harvest without harming the environment, as well as to socialise and bond as a group.

Find out more about gifts in Wills

Slowly, I started to engage with others...They started to give me small responsibilities, saying that the work will keep me occupied and help me get better. I didn’t know and understand a lot of things back then, but everyone was very sincere and patient, and taught me everything. I can tell now how much I have changed! … Five years ago, if someone had told me I would be the secretary of a group, and have my own paying job, I would have told them to stop teasing me. I never even had that confidence in myself.

Shukla smiles in her garden in Bangladesh

Shukla beams with pride when she talks about how much she has changed

The project didn’t just help Shukla find herself again, the techniques she learned gave her a way to build a better life for her son. And now she is sharing those techniques with others in her community – reaching out with love, the same way her neighbours reached out to her. And, with her newfound confidence, her eyes are set firmly on the future.

I have only one future hope—that my little family will stay happy. I want to raise my son well. I want to tell others who want to engage in eco-farming that, if they want, they can do anything and everything. Women can do anything, and do it well!

Shukla with her son Fariz

Fariz, Shukla’s son is so enthusiastic about his baby goats and thriving garden, and all its potential

Shukla’s story shows how there is no force in our world more powerful than love. Love is what brings us together, to help make the world around us a better place.

The impact of gifts in Wills

Did you know a third of CAFOD’s international development work is made possible thanks to gifts in Wills?

That means so many projects like the one Shukla joined are made possible by the gifts of love left in the Wills of people who wanted their faith, love and hope to continue for years to come.