Khadija Akhter from Netrokona
The sound of cutting bamboo wakes up Archana and Kanchoni Rani. In the early morning Sanchita Rani gets busy preparing to deliver items to the nearest shop in Netrokona. They craft strainer, depository, brim, fan, rug with bamboo and cane. That’s how the women of Badesukundiya para from Mougati, Netrokona start their day. Badesukundiya is only 5 kilometers north from Netrakona Zilla Sadar. With the experience of bush craft and simple harmonized lifestyle the only source of income of these women is their craftsmanship of bamboo and cane. It is the village women who protected the variation of seeds, herbal knowledge, traditional design and craftsmanship. The evaluation of their handicraft is renowned everywhere. They work all day sitting down at their home; they don’t have time for leisure. They work with bamboo and cane; they take care of their household and they cook; they take care of their children and their education and besides all of these, they kept their income source running. 25 women of this Badesukundiya Para are involved in cottage industry all year long. By involving themselves with these works they kept the economic wheel of their family running.
In this context Archana Rani said, “We earn so we can spend it on ourselves. We can buy things that we wish. Because we earn, we have a value to our family. We can educate our children and the society values us.” She went on saying, “But the plastic products are available now so the bamboo and cane products are not as exclusive as before.” She said with worries, “the market is full of plastic products so our sales have reduced”.
These women did not just involve themselves in handicraft. However, with the view to improve the financial situation of the family they planted various grain-crops in their homestead. They ensure the extra income for their family by planting with biological methods. Besides working with bamboo and cane, they collect, conserve and cultivate local seeds. All the women fulfill their vegetables needs by cultivating in a small radius at their residence. Not just that, by cultivating themselves they reduced their dependency of the bazaar. By saving the money to buy vegetables they are fulfilling other needs of the family.
To protect, secure and manage natural resources rural women play an essential role. Destruction of natural resources and pollution is deviating rural women from productive activities which is a threat to a safe and sound environment. Let us help rural women, utilizing their knowledge and experience to protect the environment, nature and biodiversity of our land.
Translated by Hasnain Al Morshed