Sharpening Skills Through Training
AKM Kamal Uddin Chowdhury :
Smriti Biswas has changed her fate by setting up a tailoring shop. Five years back she took loan of Taka 9,000 from the Village Development Association (VDA) in her village under the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (EBEK) project, which has been renamed as Amar Bari Amar Khamar (ABAK) project recently. She had been fighting with poverty since her childhood. After getting married, her life did not change as her husband's income was not enough for meeting the expenses of a three-member family. Her suffering further increased when her husband left her with a son few years after she got married.
'I became burden for my father. At that time, I faced severe financial crisis. I knew sewing work, but lack of a sewing machine; I used to work in another shop and earned a little money, but the income was not enough to bear my family, including my son's education, that finally I was forced to stop my son's education, 'said Smriti with grief living in a remote village named Doba under Rupsha Upazila in Khulna District'.
EBEK, now ABAK, project started its activities at Doba village in 2011 and Smriti became a member of EBEK then. She raised her own fund by depositing Taka 200 per month. After one and a half years of her membership, she bought a sewing machine by taking loan of Taka 9,000 at first phase. Through setting up the machine, she started tailoring and the wheel of her fortune life started to move.
At first, she used to make clothes staying at her house. Gradually after getting reputation, she started earning more money and paid off all her loans. Later she took loan again of Taka 15,000 and rented a shop in her village market. Now, she is earning enough money and is capable of helping others. Meanwhile, her son passed HSC and got a job in the army. The goal of the project is poverty alleviation through income generation and beneficiary are the underprivileged and poor people of the country.
Through the project the government the poor farm families, sharpening their skills through training and motivation, allowing them to sit together at the courtyard meetings, enabling them to take decisions independently and develop need based small family farms and ensuring marketing facilities for their products. The project EBEK started in 2009 with Taka 1,492 crore and finally the project was revised as ABAK in 2016 with Taka 8,010.27 crore. The government has set a target to form 1.01 lakh Village Development Association across the country and the number of the beneficiary families will be 54.60 lakh.
(AKM Kamal Uddin Chowdhury
writes for PID)