Field Story Details

We will create a group like honey bees
March 30, 2015
Srimoti Lolita Rani (43) is a woman labor of Ramnager Union under Nilphamary district has been honored as “Joyeeta” for her outstanding contribution on economic and social empowerment and volunteerism to the community in an occasion arranged by CARE with support of Nilphamary district administration.

She got married in 1983 with day labor Bimol Chandra at the age of 13. Now she has three children, two daughters and one son. Her 16 years old elder daughter reads in higher secondary school and 10 years old and younger daughter Lota Rani is in class four. Her six year old son Joyonto Chandra Ray is just going to BRAC School.

She is a very successful woman who is providing economic support to her family of 6 members as well as leading extreme poor groups in her community. During discussion, she says that “I know I have changed a lot after being a part of CARE Bangladesh in particularly at SAMMOW. I could never think like this, neither was so confident, was scared of talking to the power holders. But now I am confident in communicating people, learnt many a things of which I have never heard of, also learnt about women rights, fair wages issues and crop cultivation techniques from the trainings. Because of my confidence even people don’t believe that I was little in education”.

“I have 2 decimals of inherited homestead 22 decimal leased cultivable land. On this 2 decimals of land I have a separate kitchen, a room for my daughters, a separate room for cow and goats, a latrine, a tube-well, and another room for us. Along with SAMMOW volunteerism service, I have involved with vegetable cultivation, organic manure preparation, poultry rearing, wage labor selling and livestock rearing. Now I have 10 chickens, 5 ducks, 1 goat, 2 cows and 4 calves. These all are because of my struggle and inspiration of CARE Bangladesh program. But just 4 year’s back my condition was not like this. This home which you are now looking at was not there. There was no separate arrangement of living for us. we had a house made of straw with a separate kitchen which was inherited from father in law, a tube-well and only 2-3 chickens.

I saved money from my maid servant salary from the very early stage of our married life. Latter on I have sale of labor to the agriculture field as well as involved with small scale cultivation as share cropper. With that money I bought ducks and chickens, paid school fees for my kids, spent on my family and set up this home. I also purchased a calf and a goat for rearing. After a certain period, I sold that cow and goat. With this money and my spouse’s contribution I leased 22 decimal land for rice cultivation. Besides, the project SAMMOW has given opportunities to serve the community through a paid volunteerism. Though this, I was helping people in my leisure time, but these opportunities help me to involve fulltime. In such way my life has become peaceful”.

During discussion about the volunteerism, she speak out in such way that “ I am confident about this group will survive without any support from SAMMOW. Because I nurtured it like a baby, take care of it and now this baby has started walking and it would run in near future. I have learnt concept of savings mobilization, fair wage mobilization, nutritious food preparation, crop cultivation through SAMMOW project. I have implemented my knowledge both in my family life as well as in the group. I have raised the “fair wage issues” in my group. Later on, I lead the analysis process to 6 nearby communities (para) and explore the poor situation of women agri-day laborer at the ward level as well as Union level mass gathering.

I just love the issues we shared in our trainings, meetings, gatherings etc. These helped me a lot to learn so many things about life even without any higher education. I am so happy, CARE- Bangladesh has gifted us a new life”.

“It feels happy that all the members are doing well now. They encourage me a lot to do things for them. Whenever information comes to me about difficulties of pregnant mothers, I rush to her, observe the situation and refer them immediately to the hospital. I have made a good relation with local health service institutions and gained knowledge on family planning when I used to work with BRAC as "SHEBIKA". Whenever someone fall in trouble they rush to me for solution. I proposed a list for government’s allowance for widow, elderly scheme from our community to the chairperson of UP consulting our group members. He has to take it seriously because my list was too transparent and accurate. He has assured me to issue the allowance card to all of my listed persons. Now I am confident enough to visit the local elected bodies and talk to them. It is also mentioned, I am a members of UP standing committee. I also have a good relation with the chairperson of the department of Women Affairs. I also resolved a domestic fight where the wife was left in her parents’ for some time due to a family fight and husband was not inclined to take her back. I have ensured 100% sanitation in my community”.

We should have that confident and knowledge to communicate people. I tell my group that we will create a group like honey bees. Our group will be a model for others. We will be the leaders like banana tree that produces another young tree before it dies not like the banyan tree which don’t let other trees to grow.

Mizanur Rahman
Technical Coordinator-M&E
SDVC II Project

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