Assalamu Alaikum / Hello
I’m Shahida, let me tell you a little story of how Butterfly Charity started.
Sometimes we have to go through darkness to see the light and that’s exactly what happened to me.
During the end of Summer 2018 I was depressed and facing personal challenges of my own. At the time it felt like the worst thing ever, but now looking back it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
It was during those dark times that I realised that there were women who were far worse off than me. I had a warm home, food to eat and income, while vulnerable women in other countries had nothing and were enduring so much more hardship than I was.
I was born in Bangladesh and came to the UK when I was 5 years old. When I was 18 I visited again and witnessed the poverty first hand. I always knew I wanted to help, but life got in the way. When I was at my lowest, I had a picture of a group of women from Rohingya coming to Bangladesh for shelter as my laptop screensaver. It was there to remind me that there are people out there struggling more than me. It must have seeped into my psyche and I soon realised I couldn’t just look at the picture anymore – I needed to help these women. At that moment I didn’t have it all figured out, I just knew that I needed to do anything that I could to support them.
By me focusing on them I was healing without knowing. It was no longer about me and my suffering. Every day started getting a little easier and I became mentally stronger. Sometimes when we don’t focus on our pain we don’t feel it. What we focus on is what expands. So that’s exactly what happened. I came out of my depression with a new filter and I saw the world differently with more gratitude.
As I healed I started seeing white butterflies everywhere, it was like they were following me. I even saw them on the dual carriageway. Then, during my first visit to Bangladesh in February 2020 I saw a white butterfly when we were providing toilets for the women working in the tea gardens. I felt this amazing feeling inside like the butterflies had this hidden message that I was on the right path. So the charity’s name was born. Oh and I managed to capture a picture of that butterfly in Bangladesh.
I started the charity using my own money to fund small businesses for single mums in any way they needed – from providing sewing machines and sewing lessons to providing rickshaws to be rented out for income. I can’t explain in words what it felt like to have helped these women and seeing their faces filled with gratitude. It was definitely the best experience of my life.
I soon started attracting people in my life that also wanted to help me on this project. They too wanted to give their time to support these women. The Butterfly Charity has no overheads because it’s backed by kind-hearted volunteers. This means that 100% of the donations go straight to the cause.
I’m so blessed to have found my purpose in life. By reading this you too are becoming a part of our story, so thank you.