Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Poverty - one way out
Nasima lives in Bangladesh. She was married at the age of twelve. Her husband had no shelter so the couple had to live in a hut made of thatch in Nasima’s uncle’s house. Silkworms and a handloom were her husband's only assets. Both of Nasima and her husband were physically strong enough but they had no means of generating any income.
Besides doing some domestic work Nasima used to help her husband in his work. Within a few years three babies arrived. They faced extreme hardship then, as they had no cultivatable land or alternative sources of income. In spite of the miserable conditions Nasima sent her children to school. The family expenses were steadily increasing.
At that time a visitor came to Nasima’s house and told her about the advantages of being a member of a microcredit borrowing group. Nasima discussed it with her husband and decided to join in a group of the Society for Social Service (SSS).
Nasima started to deposit savings of Tk. 5/- in group meetings. There are about 70 Tk to one US $. After a few months Nasima took out a loan of Tk.1,500/- for the first time. Adding some money of her own she bought another handloom with this amount.
Things were a little more comfortable after purchasing the second handloom. Even after repaying the loan installments, Nasima could meet the family and education expenses from the income of handloom business. She took out further loans. She invested the entire loan amount in her handloom business and as a result her income started to increase rapidly.
Nasima learnt about health and hygiene in group meetings, which motivated her to install a tube-well for pure drinking water and also a sanitary latrine. She made some furniture and bought land to build a house from her savings. Now she has 16 handlooms. She employs 16 full time workers. She gives them Tk. 230/- for producing one sari. Nasima keeps the accounts of her business herself. Nasima’s elder son is in class twelve, her younger son in class ten and her only daughter in class nine. Nasima is not interested in early marriage for her daughter.
Nasima learnt about health and nutrition, how to raise poultry, grow vegetables, and how to manage hre micro enterprise from SSS. She is proud to be a member of SSS.
Today Nasima has earned the respect of her family and neighbours. Her husband discusses any decisions with her, and Nasima's neighbours are benefiting from her business. Poverty is not an unalterable state - it can be changed. But we have to help.