Saleha Begum (50)

Eid is a day of joy. My family and I can’t celebrate it though, because we have to work, like any other day. I work as a maid and earn between 150-200 BDT (£1.50-£2.00) on the days I work. I can’t buy new clothes for my children and grandchildren so we wear the same old clothes. We eat from whatever Allah has granted us, on that day.

It is a Bengali tradition to cook a sweet dish made from vermicelli on Eid but we don’t have enough money to spare, so we eat greens, lentils and whatever we can afford. Last Eid, Islamic Relief gave us 2kg of meat. This put a huge smile on everyone’s faces. My children and grandchildren love to eat red meat but we cannot afford to buy it. We live hand to mouth. I try to buy a chicken once a year, though.

My husband is almost 70 years-old and due to old age and illness, he has been unemployed for a long time. After my son-in-law’s death six years ago, my daughter and three grandchildren came to live with us. My wages are our main source of income and since I can’t find work every day, I try to save half the money I earn. I have 100 BDT (94p) or less to buy food for seven people. The days I can’t work – when I’m sick, or there is no work – the adults eat just one meal and the children eat two. Our health is very poor because of malnutrition.

All I want is my children to live a happy life and my grandchildren to become good, educated human beings.