DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia has pledged financial and other assistance to a woman who offered to sell one of her eyes for money, officials said Wednesday.
Abandoned by her husband, the 26-year-old Shefali Begum, mother of one baby girl, offered an eye for cash in a newspaper advertisement last month -- drawing attention from all over the world.
Individuals and charities at home and abroad responded quickly, offering to send money so Shefali would not have to sell her eye.
"The Prime Minister called Shefali Begum to her chamber on Tuesday and pledged her a package of government assistance including a home, free food ration and educational expenses for her daughter," a government official said.
"Shefali will now have protection from the state so that no human-organ buyers can approach her," he said.
The prime minister gave her a check of an undisclosed amount to deposit in a bank account and earn interest.
"I cannot disclose the amount, but it's a healthy amount, which will generate enough money to support Shefali and her daughter," said the official.
Bangladeshi men have been known to advertise their kidneys for sale for cash, but Shefali is the first woman in the country known to advertise an eye.
Nearly half of Bangladesh's about 140 million people live in poverty, unable to get two meals a day. Abandoned or widowed mothers are at the bottom of the economic heap.
Bangladesh law prohibits sale of human organ but allows donations to save lives. But donations outside the family often carry a price tag.
This story made me think of da baldie.