She dreamed, She Unleashed!
December 20, 2011
Women in the most part of the Bangladesh are compelled under the domination of men driven society. They are socially and economically neglected and have very limited opportunity to commune with the outside world. There is very limited scope for them to explore their potential because of their underprivileged position in the society.
Sehfali Parvin (42) is one of those women who lives in a small village named Chokmisha under Parbotipur Upazila of Dinajpur District with her husband Moniul Islam (50) and her daughters Johora (23) and Shilpi (15). As usual like many other potential women in the country she was also deprived from getting proper education and respect in her family and the society. She used work 16 hours a day 7 days a week to fulfill the demand of her family. As she was a mother of two daughters she often had to maintain her family with incurring minimum house hold cost so that the family could save some money for the future of their daughters. They have two dairy cows at home but due to improper management the cows were unproductive. There was no additional income to feed the cow to improve the condition. Her husband was a farmer and had very inadequate income to properly feed and clothe the family. So argue with her husband was a daily issue. After arranging the marriage of their elder daughter and costing a lot in that event the thing even got worse. But unlike many other women in the village she did one thing very exceptional. She joins care’s Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain project and evolved herself as a cattle feed seller in her area.
At first when she joins the group the group was unaware about the proper feeding management of their cattle to improve the health condition and increase the production of milk. CARE came forward to solve the problem. After arranging trainings and a series of learning sessions the group came to know about how proper feeding can change the health condition and increase the milk production of their cattle. The group soon realized how a little investment can change the amount of milk production in return. But alike other remote areas improved cattle feed were not available in their community and that was the scope Shefali staring at. With consulting her husband and having the money she saved from selling of milk she starts a small venture of cattle feed selling with a primary investment of only BDT 1600 (US $22). At the initial stage she used to sell 50 KGs of cattle feed per month @ BDT 15/KG and was earning income of BDT 750 (US $11). Soon the sells grows up and she starts to sell 175 KGs per month and generate a earning of BDT 2625 (US $36) per month. That was a remarkable addition to her family income and soon her husband starts to realize her value in the family. Not only has her family the whole society started to value her. Most of the group members are now buying feed from her and values her recommendation of feed intake for their cattle. The group members also seek her suggestion regarding some family related issues as well.
As Shefali describes, “As I am now earning, my family can spend more on food, household nutrition, health and education for my children. They are all truly proudly of what I have achieved and they now believe that there is much more I can further achieve”.
Shefali is now dreaming for a brighter picture. She wants to expand her business even more by getting a feed dealership license to start her business as a major feed seller in her area. She believes that the feed selling business is not only benefiting her, it is also helping the village people to increase their milk production and ensuring the reproduction of their dairy cattle. So it is playing a vital economical role for her and for the village people. Care is also exploring market linkage opportunities for her by linking her with major private sectors that produce branded cattle feeds in the country.
Shefali’s belief was the key to the extraordinary improvement that has taken place in her life. She is a good example of women empowerment in her community which is the examples for others to follow. There are other Shefalis still residing in the villages of North and North-West Bangladesh. We aims to give them a chance to grow themselves as dynamic individuals, fit for the challenges in life.
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