Food Bank empowers deprived women
Abu Sazzad with Firoz Amin Sarkar: Villagers of Dwippara in Haripur upazila of Thakurgaon district has been set up a rare example by making many poor and ultra poor people self-reliant with their own efforts without help of the government or any NGO.
Experts said, the initiative may be lesson for the people of elsewhere in the country.
An exceptional Micro-loan system has been introduced at vilalge through collecting extra rice of the householders which can be a reference for the poor and underprivileged people across the country to improve their existing livelihoods.
A lower income group of villagers took the initiative on August 2017 to collect the extra rice locally known as “Musti” as well as to deposit Tk 20 to Tk 50 under one umbrella with a view to empower the local poverty stricken people.
Some 30 householders including poor, underprivileged and widow made a group under the banner of ‘Food Bank’.
The said group is now capable to provide loan facilities among the underprivileged people of the area through their collective efforts just within two years.
Now, the marginal people especially deprived women are availing loan facilities without any interest from this group. Over 200 householders have taken loan facilities from this group known as Food Bank and they have become able to improve their livelihoods.
It is very interesting that, the business of different recognized Micro-loan provider NGOs have almost shut down as the vulnerable people are now getting loan facilities from the group.
Talking to Daily Industry, Idu Moni (23), a member of the group recently told that, her husband Faridul Islam involved with the rejected iron business who collected such materials from different parts of the area.
They had been leading miserable life due to her husband poor income.
While narrating the agonizing history of her family, Idu Moni said,” We have two children. But, we don’t have any land apart from a tinny house. Since two years, we maintained our family in a numbness pain for lack of adequate logistic supports”.
Hearing from locals about the Food Bank, she has already started depositing extra rice along with a amount between Tk 20 to Tk 50 in a week under the group, she said.
Thus, she had been deposited at around Tk 3,500 and 31 kilograms rice in the Food Bank in a period from August 2017 to November last, she mentioned.
At one stage, she withdrew loan from food bank without any interest and purchased two goats which is the beginning of her journey to empower herself, she narrated.
“Now, I am the owner of eight goats and one cow. I also mortgage a land in which my husband cultivates multifarious crops. Apart from this, I also invest a moderate amount to my husbands’ business”.
Another member of the group, Majeda Khatun said that, they have participated at various government trainings and taken facilities from different departments.
“I also took loan from Food Bank and purchased three cows, two goats. Moreover, I invested money to purchase an auto-rickshaw for my husband. From my earnings, I have also set up a sanitary latrine in my house”, she added.
Such kind of initiatives helped her to raise voice in the family issues. Now she gets more priority from her husband, as she has become solvent by her efforts, he mentioned.
Rangila Khatun, the group leader said, the deposit amount is increasing gradually. After forming the group, everyone was not interested to take Micro-loan from the recognized lending organization.
Abdul Hai Arif, a Project Official of Islamic Relief Foundation said that, his organization has expressed desire to provide supports to the underprivileged women to empower them in the society.
Watching the achievement, many women in the neighbroing areas, have now become interested to form such as group or Food Banks.
Meanwhile, some 67 more groups have been established under the Haripur Upazila after finding the achievement of Dwippara villagers.
The women have already deposited at around Tk 47.54 lakh in different groups by November last.
We are conducting various awareness programs for these marginal women which have reduced economic disparity.
Md Abdul Karim, UNO of Haripur Upazial appreciated the initiative of the organisation. “I physically visited the area and I am very pleased to visit the activities of the non-government organisation to empower the marginal people in their respective society”, he added.
He has tressed the need for taking such kind of projects in the country to empower the underprivileged women as well as improve their livelihoods.