Most. Rozina Khatun is originally from Sirajganj district. She arrived in Gazipur, Dhaka in 2011, in hopes of better livilhood options to be able to support her two dauthers and rest of the family. A week after arriving in Dhaka, Rozina and her Husband got a job in a ready-made garments (RMG) factory. With their combined earnings to a total of BDT 3662 (USD 43.22), she was able to support her elderly parents back home and her daughters’ education. Life was fairly manageable as they also managed to repay all their old debts in their village.
On the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people lost their jobs in many sectors. Same was the case for ready-made garments (RMG) sector. Rozina and her husband also lost their job towards the end of March 2020. Their job was terminated upon paying only 15 days’ salary. They became extremely worried about themselves and all the people that are dependent on them. Rozina recalled, “Most of the time there was no food left in my house, my younger daughter used to cry for food during my 2 months’ jobless time. I could not bear it anymore.”
After suffering extreme hardships, Rozina decided that she would take some loan again and start a tea stall. She took BDT 1,000 (USD 11.8) as a loan from her uncle and started a tea stall on mid-June 2020. She began earning a small livelihood, just enough to survive.
Around the same time, CARE Bangladesh’s Promoting Worker Well Being project began their COVID-19 response in this region. She became a part of the project by being involved in the women friendly space where she received awareness sessions on COVID-19 prevention awareness, prevention of gender-based violence (GBV), problem solving and stress management.
She got enlisted in the jobless female workers’ survey system and was selected for the cash grant of BDT 1,500 per installment. On October 4, 2020, she received the money of the first installment from CARE Bangladesh. Using this money, she increased the numbers of items she was selling in her tea-stall. She started by selling boiled egg and Fuchka (a popular snack) along with tea in her stall. Just after 15 days on October 19, 2020, she received the second installment, which she used to introduce more items in her stall. The cash grants helped her immensely and her monthly income was also two times more than before.
With financial support, trainings and awareness sessions, CARE Bangladesh not only helped the family of Rozina financially but also prepared her as a fighter against COVID-19 pandemic and poverty. Now she is more confident mentally, socially and financially.
*Promoting worker well-being project is designed to ensure that partnerships with targeted stakeholders include workers’ voices and influence business plans and practices, by building a cadre of competent and experienced women worker leaders. Dignified Work for All will promote the wellbeing of women workers by strengthening their capacities and increasing the leadership, representation and voice of women in Bangladeshi industry and society. During the pandemic when many women lost their work and livelihood in the RMG sector, the project realigned their activities to support this group. Under COVID-19 response, the project provided need based sustenance allowance; health, hygiene and safety supplies; basic health care and COVID-19 treatment and GBV related services.