Finally the dignity defined!
December 20, 2011
After listening to her tragic story, I asked her “How did you managed to survive from this distressful situation” she smiled and replied, “All these happened because of my dignity which I was after and all my hard work to overcome my misery and achieve the impossible aspiration of life” This was the reply from Doulotunnesa (37), a woman from the Mahmuder para village under Rangpur District.
Most Doulotunnesa (37) is a milk collector of Mahmuder Para milk producing and marketing group which was formed by CARE’s Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain (SDVC) project back in 2009. She is living with her physically challenged husband named Md. Kashem Mian (50) who was once a farmer who used to lease land and grow crops for living. They have two sons and a daughter; named Shajjadul (16) and Mominul (9) and daughter Sifatun (15) who was a victim of child marriage due to the poorness of the family. 10 years back, everything was on order and though the income of the family was poor but they were living a good life. The income of her husband was good enough to feed the family but soon the bliss of their family blown away when Kashem Mian, the husband of Doulotunnesa became paralyzed and had to put himself down on the bed forever. The distress of Doulotunnesa’s life just begins. She invested almost all their economical resources to get improved treatment but everything goes in vain. After all the tryout the only thing left was a small house to live and a dairy cow. Soon a happy family transformed in to an extreme poor and cursed one. At that time it was even difficult to arrange 3 squire meals a day. Sensing the afterward desolation and set their self free from hunger they wed their only daughter named Sifatun who was only 15 with a man of 27. But that was not enough. She and her husband make a decision that their elder son will go for the city to find a job and send money for them. Soon after the marriage of their daughter they send their son to the capital city where he works in a readymade garment factory for a very little amount. Things were wobbly but somehow manageable thereafter. But it was very difficult for a woman like her to maintain the family of her own.
After several years of hardship and misery she finds a light of hope when CARE’s Strengthening The Dairy Value chain project formed two groups with a view to improve the production and increase the income of the dairy cattle of group members. She joins the group and received training. But it was a hitch for the group members to sell their milk to market. Doulotunnesa come forward to take the responsibility. Group fixes ed that she will buy the milk from the group @ BDT 35 per liter and sell to the market @ BDT 38-40 per liter. Care helps her to explore the linkage for selling the milk to some hotels in local bazaar and she starts to collect the milk from the group. Soon she discovers that she is making enough money to properly feed the family.
She describes, “I was a conventional village woman and have limited access to out home activities or social connections. Previously my life was so miserable. My husband is physically challenges and the only income source of the family was a cow which produced low quantity of milk to maintain the family. But now after starting this milk collection business I am now able to properly maintain my family. I can now sleep well at night and don’t have a nightmare of how I will feed my family tomorrow. This is the life I was dreaming for so long”.
Currently she is linked with the local milk market. Collecting milk from two producer groups. She is collecting 25 liters of milk @ BDT 35 from the group per day and selling the milk @ BDT 40 in the market. From the milk collection she is now earning BDT 3750 (US $52) per month. Moreover after learning proper dairy cattle management the milk production of her cows rises from 1 liter to 2 liters per day. From both selling her cow’s milk and collecting and selling milk form the group she is now earning BDT 6150 (US $85) per month.
Doulotunnesa is a woman who never sensed the possibilities of outside world. And now she is thinking about a future of her own and her children. She said, “Now I am enjoying an upgraded social status and better a way of living and I want to live even better in future. I can now send my youngest son to school and feed and clothe the family. I have a plan to expand my business by getting introduced with new community for more collection and increasing number of cows I have and maintain a good family status”.
Like Doulotunnesa there are lots of women who have great potentials to overcome their distress by breaking the cycle of poverty and gender inequality and make their life better. She has greater voice, and often helps other members in the community to make key decisions. We are working closely to help them to address and achieve their goal.
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