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Becoming a businesswoman in Bangladesh

By Agnes McGrane | 23 Apr 2020

Dina’s* community in Bangladesh was devastated by a flood, pushing her family further into poverty. She could never have imagined that this disaster would result in her starting her own successful business.

Dina lives with her husband Sabbir and their three children in the rural village of Monnarpar in Bangladesh. Until recently, she had lived a quiet life as a stay-at-home mum.

In 2019, everything changed. A bad flood devastated the family’s community, with many losing their homes and jobs.

Acres of crops were destroyed and Sabbir lost his job as a farm worker. It was difficult for the family to make ends meet as they tried to rebuild their lives.

Struggling to provide
The family had been completely dependent on Sabbir’s income to meet their basic needs. As weeks went by with Sabbir finding no new work, the family slipped further into crisis and saw no way out.

‘I was always under physical and emotional stress,’ says Sabbir, reflecting on the struggle to provide for his family.

Dina looked for jobs as a domestic worker, often working in exchange for bags of rice, but she was unable to find regular work.

‘[Sometimes] we ate once a day,’ Dina says. ‘Due to poverty, our children have not been able to continue at school.’

However, over the past few months things have started to change.

From desperation to new opportunities
Dina started attending a community group set up by Tearfund’s partner close to her home. At the group, Dina received training on rearing livestock and how to be more prepared for disasters such as floods. She was also offered financial support from one of our local partners to set up a small business.

Dina quickly set to work and used the loan to buy two ducks and two hens. She started selling eggs outside her home, and then at the local market.

Now, she has 12 ducks and 13 hens and her business is thriving. Dina earns enough money to provide food for her children, and even save for the future. ‘I feel good!’ says Dina.

Dreaming for the future
Dina and her husband are motivated to continue developing their business, and have become role models in their small community. Other villagers are inspired by Dina’s success and she now trains others in rearing poultry and encourages them to save money for the future.

But Dina isn’t stopping there. She already has plans to start rearing cattle, and dreams of owning her own land.

‘When our savings will be large, we will purchase [our own] farm land,’ says Sabbir.

Dina and her family are an example of how, with a little support, people can rise from disaster and poverty with dignity and hope.

PLEASE PRAY:

*All names have been changed to protect identity.

This article references events that took place before the coronavirus crisis.

Written by

Written by Agnes McGrane

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