Rejeya Khatun from Bangladesh has found a way to realise self-reliance by working with The Hunger Project. Find out what happens to a community when one woman is economically and socially empowered.
Originally published by The Hunger Project.
Rejeya Khatun is from Naopara, a village in the Meherpur district of Bangladesh. She was born in a lower middle class family, and her father was the only family member earning an income.
Her parents had wanted to educate their daughter, but were unable to, due to their financial situation. They therefore arranged for her to marry a young man in their village. Rejeya’s new husband was not yet employed, and struggled to put food on the table.
Rejeya wanted to improve her situation.
She shared her story with her friend Morjina Khatun (a Hunger Project “Animator,” or trained volunteer leader, in her village), asking for her suggestions. Morjina advised Rejeya to get involved with The Hunger Project as a member of the Participatory Action Research group, or in skills training such as sewing and tailoring.
She built a vision in her mind.
She shared her ideas with her husband and with his support, she went to a training center to participate in a six-month sewing and tailoring training. During the training period, she started to take work orders for small jobs. After her training ended she started working full-time.
Within a few days she became very popular in the village, and increased her customer base. Soon after, other unemployed women who were struggling to feed their families came to her to develop their skills in sewing and tailoring in order to increase their household incomes as well.
Rejeya agreed to train other unemployed women for free.
At least eight women have received training from Rejeya and are now able to earn a living using the skills that she taught them. Since becoming involved with The Hunger Project, Rejeya has a regular income and her family no longer struggles to find food. Rejeya has not limited her work to tailoring; she also raises animals for meat and dairy, and grows vegetables in her garden.
Now I do not pass the night without food and my other family members can eat full meals at night…nights without food are gone from our lives, we are happy.
Rejeya Khatun - Naopara, Meherpur district, Bangladesh
Her husband has also since been employed.
Their daughter is growing up with adequate food, health care and in a good environment. Rejeya is an active member of the Ward Action Team in her community, and also a member of the Gono Gobeshana Samity.
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