The woman who could


The dreams Ashalata had for her daughters were starting to dry up. But she wasn’t going to give in without a fight.

Ashalata* lives with her husband, Benoy, their two daughters and her mother-in-law in a remote village in the north west of Bangladesh. When Benoy became sick, he wasn’t able to provide for the family in the way he used to. Life became even more difficult for them.

The couple couldn’t afford to send their daughters to school. Ashalata wanted better for them – a way out of the vicious cycle of poverty they were trapped in.

Getting crafty
When she was a child Ashalata was taught to weave mats from dry reeds. She noticed that there was a demand for these mats at her local market. But a good idea only gets you so far.

Even though she had the skills and motivation to try and turn her family’s fortune around, Ashalata had no money to buy the raw materials she needed to start this new business. Without this she had nothing.

But our local partner, World Concern, saw the potential in Ashalata and her idea.

Weaving change
They met with Ashalata and gave her the money and support she needed to get started. Within a week she was weaving mats at home. And then things really began to take off.

It used to take Ashalata a day to complete a mat. Now she can weave several a day. Inspired by his wife, Benoy has also taken up basket weaving. Working together, this home business has turned their lives around. They no longer go hungry – and best of all – they have enough money to send their daughters to school.

And it doesn’t end there. Ashalata is determined to help lift other vulnerable women out of poverty. ‘I wish to expand my business, where seven to ten poor women will be employed, and also buy some land for my family,’ Ashalata says.


Almighty God,
Thank you for the skills and creativity you have blessed each of us with. Give us wisdom in how – like Ashalata – we can use them to help lift people out of poverty. And in these challenging times, we pray that everyone will still have the opportunity to turn their lives around.

*Names changed to protect identity

This article references events that took place before the coronavirus crisis