Photographer GMB Akash from Bangladesh photographs the daily lives of people in his country. He creates beautiful portraits of their stories. He has received over 100 international awards and his photos have been published in internationally-renowned publications, such as National Geografic, Vouge, Time and Der Spiegel.
This is a story about a father. A dad who never had the chance to go to school. Everyday, he fought to earn enough money to give his daughters the chance to be educated.
Here is his heartbreaking story:
I never told my children what my job was. I never wanted them to feel ashamed because of me. When my youngest daughter asked me what I did, I used to tell her hesitantly that I was a labourer.
Before I went back home every day, I used to take bath in public toilets so they did not get any hint of the work I was doing. I wanted to send my daughters to school, to educate them. I wanted them to stand in front of people with dignity. I never wanted anyone to look down upon them like how everyone did to me. People always humiliated me.
I invested every penny of my earnings for my daughters’ education. I never bought a new shirt, instead used the money for buying books for them. Respect, which is all I wanted them to earn for me. I was a cleaner.
The day before the last date of my daughter’s college admission, I could not manage to get her admission fees. I could not work that day. I was sitting beside the rubbish, trying hard to hide my tears.
All my coworkers were looking at me but no one came to speak to me. I had failed and felt heartbroken. I had no idea how to face my daughter who would ask me about the admission fees once I got back home.
I am born poor. I believed nothing good can happen to a poor person. After work all the cleaners came to me, sat beside and asked if I considered them as brothers. Before I could answer, they handed me their one day's income.
When I tried to refuse everyone; they confronted by saying, ‘We will starve today if needed but your daughter has to go to college.’ I couldn't reply them. That day I did not take a shower, I went back to my house like a cleaner.
My daughter is going to finish her University very soon. Three of them do not let me go to work anymore. She has a part-time job and three of them do tuition. But often she takes me to my working place. Feeds all my coworkers along with me.
They laugh and ask her why she feeds them so often. My daughter told them, ‘All of you starved for me that day so I can become what I am today, pray for me that I can feed you all, every day.' Nowadays I don't feel like I am a poor man. Whoever has such children, how can he be poor! - Idris
See Idris' original entry on the GMB Akash Facebook-page:
It's sometimes easy to forget about all the sacrifices parents do for their children.
Feel free to share this story with your friends on Facebook if you also think this dad is a real hero - and his daughter is a real gem!