Sultana Parvin from Rajshahi
Hard work and desire is the key of success in life. It is also believed that people can create their future. Bilkis Begum (36) an inhibits of Beel Nepal para village of Paba upazila under Rajshahi district has made her family financial solvent through her hard work and intense desire.
Bilkis was born and grew up in a financially lower class family. Her father, a farmer, was the only bread earner of their family. Her parents wanted to educate their daughter, but were unable to, due to their financial situation. They therefore arranged for her a marriage to a young man in their village. She got married to Md. Saiful Islam (40) when she was just 17. Her husband was a day laborer and had only a homestead of 9 decimal lands. Her husband was an auto driver; his only living was a rented auto rickshaw which was not sufficient to fulfill all family necessities. Their lives encountered serious hardships when Bilkis births a new baby within two years of marriage and the couple unable to bear additional cost. Being 6 members join family with low income, they passed a terrible life more than a decade.
In 2016, after hearing Bilkis’s story, Sultana Parven her neighbor who is also a community facilitator of BARCIK advised her to involve in women group with 30 persons in her village organized by BARCIK. The members of the women group intend to do something that could supplement their family income. In group meeting, they desired to learn aesthetic needlework which has market demand. BARCIK arranged the training where thirty women participated. Bilkis Begum holds a significant role in training. After learning the work, she contacted with big shops in Rajshahi and collected orders for all trainees. The women wked hard and support each other to carry forward the business. At present, they are now preparing various items of aesthetic sewing items called Suzani, Khajurapara, Mashkata, Dollar, Chain, Gujrati etc. on sarees, salowars, headscarfs and kantha.
At present, women are earning BDT 400-700 per sarees, BDT 300-500 per Salowars etc. Regarding the initiatives, Bilkis Begum said, “women can do whatever they want if they desire. In our journey, she added, BARCIK just cooperated with suggestions but we did our own. From that, today we can help our family. Because of this, our opinions in our family are gaining importance. Bilkis mentioned now we able to send my two sons to school.
Bilkis has not limited her work to aesthetic sewing only; she also raises animals for meat and dairy, and grows vegetables in her own courtyard. There she has cultivated cucumber, sweet potato, bean which meets the needs of the family. A few of product also she sold. He bought a sewing machine from his earnings. Besides sewing aesthetics needle work she also work as a tailor. When her Income grows, she bought a cow. In 2018, she provides financial support to her husband buying a new auto rickshaw of BDT.1 Lac.80 thousand.
After repaying her husband’s previous loan Bilkis took a lease of 5 percent of land next to her house. Her husband supports working in vegetable gardening. Regarding the economic development of the family, Bilkis Begum’s husband, Md. Saiful Islam said, “It was difficult for me to run my family without her support. If she did not stand by me, there would be impossible for me”. Recently Bilkis has bought a cow of BDT. 32000 with the sale of vegetables, two goats and own savings. Regarding the financial development of her family, her mother-in-law, Karema Begum (60) said, “Bilkis Begum is a great example who strives to achieve many things. In addition to my son, her role is no less important in the development of my family.
Bilkis Begum has now a regular income and her family no longer struggles to find food. She is now an active member of various organizations in her community. She is an outstanding example who significantly contributed of her family’s economic development. With a little help and proper advice, thousands of women like Bilkis Begum can contribute to her family as well women’s empowerment in the country.
Translated by ABM Touhidul Alam